Texas Christian University to nix the word 'freshmen' in push for 'inclusive excellence'

"Freshman" will be replaced by "first-year" in university data beginning this fall.

TCU joins the University of North Carolina and the Penn State Faculty Senate in ditching the traditional terms over inclusion concerns.

Texas Christian University, a private religious university affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, has announced that it will no longer use the term “freshmen” in an effort to be more inclusive. 

Instead, the school will refer to students in college for the first time as “first-year” students. The term will also apply to students with fewer than 24 credit hours, regardless of how long they have been enrolled in school. 

[RELATED: UNC drops term ‘freshman’ in favor of ‘gender inclusive language’]

TCU’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs called the change “a reflection of our university-wide commitment to inclusive excellence.” The university’s Data Governance Executive Board, which is responsible for data collection, security, and quality, approved the change by vote. 

”This move brings TCU in line with current higher education industry standards,” according to the university’s announcement of the change. Dating back nearly a decade, other universities have adapted their language around grade levels and backed away from the freshman-through-senior descriptors of college students. In 2012, Campus Reform reported that the University of North Carolina dropped the term “freshman” from official documents because of its gendered connotation. 

[RELATED: Penn State faculty cancels ‘male-centric’ ‘Junior’ and ‘Senior’ labels]

Just last month, Penn State University’s Faculty Senate voted to eliminate “freshmen” as well as “junior” and “senior” because they follow a traditional male naming convention. 

TCU’s new policy will take effect at the start of the fall 2021 semester.