Campus Reform | FIU tells students to avoid saying 'husband,' 'wife,' or ‘you may kiss the bride’

FIU tells students to avoid saying 'husband,' 'wife,' or ‘you may kiss the bride’

The Florida International University’s 'Inclusive Language Guide' discourages those at the school from using a list of words and phrases including 'waiter / waitress.'

The guide serves as the ‘standard’ for all university-sponsored documents.

The Office of Social Justice & Inclusion at Florida International University has released an “Inclusive Language Guide” on its website that urges the university community to cease using “non-inclusive” language such as “waiter /waitress” and “steward / stewardess.”

The guide instructs the FIU community to “replace the term ‘man’ in words that are exclusive of gender and serves no purpose.”

For example, “Freshman,” “Man-made,” “Manhole,” and “Manpower” should be replaced with “First year,” “Artificial, human-caused”, “Sewer cover,” and “Workforce.” 

The guide informs readers to “replace the term ‘man’” in “Mankind,” but then encourages them to use “Humanity” instead, also a word with the term “man” in it.

Students and faculty are also encouraged to “use terms that include all genders not just men or just women” such as “Server” for “Waitress / waiter” and “Flight Attendant” for “Stewardess / steward.”

FIU sophomore Willy Buckley told Campus Reform that the guide is an “attack of free speech” and “way of life” because it is “completely changing our wording in our personal lives.” 

Freshman Zachary Stangl told Campus Reform that he believes the guide is a “failed attempt at solving a problem that is seemingly non existent. The entirety of the statement is riddled with redundant guidelines for comments that most would not find offensive.”

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The guide states that “gender inclusive language” such as “Mx.” in place of “Ms. / Miss. / Mrs. / Mr. / Sir / Ma'am / Madam” and “Y’all / Folks / Everyone / Guests” in place of “Guys / Ladies and Gentlemen” should be used. 

The other discouraged terms include “Mother/Father or Mom/Dad,” “Preferred pronouns,” and “Women / Men (Restrooms).” Instead, the university wants students and faculty to say “Parents, Family Members, Guardians, or Caregiver,” “Pronouns / Chosen Pronouns,” and “Stalls / Urinals + Stalls.” 

 In order to “avoid negating people’s existence and relationships,” FIU advises against “using heteronormative and binary language.”

Instead of saying “Husband / Wife,” the guide suggests “Partner / Spouse” and “You may kiss each other” for “You may kiss the bride.” 

The guide also categorizes the words “Homosexuals” and “Sex change” as “outdated medical terms.” “Gay people” and “Gender Affirming Surgery” should be used in lieu according to FIU. 

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FIU also wants readers to be aware of terms “related to mental health”  because some people were “institutionalized against their will.” 

As an alternative to saying, “That person or behavior or thing is crazy / nuts / insane / deranged / demented,” the guide suggests, “That person or behavior or thing is surprising to me.” Additionally, readers should describe themselves as “sad” instead of “depressed.” 

The guide categorizes the use of the terms “Kids / Girls / Boys” as “generalizing, demeaning or discriminatory.” To resolve this, it is recommended to say “Younger person.” 

FIU also encourages readers to use the phrase “Young people” in place of “Senile” even though “Senile” means “of, relating to, exhibiting, or characteristic of old age” according to Merriam-Webster.

The Office of Social Justice & Inclusion website states that the principles outlined in the document serve as the foundation for all university correspondence and materials. 

“The use of inclusive and welcoming oral and written language is the standard for all our departmental documents, correspondences, marketing materials, academic coursework materials, presentations, conversations, lectures, syllabi, as well as written and oral student assessment materials,” the website states.

Stangl, however, told Campus Reform that this list did not make him feel welcome. 

“I do not agree with how this statement ‘guides’ people in making me feel more included, rather, it creates more separation between me and those who are different than me," Stangl said. "This statement, in an attempt to fight ignorance, represents ignorance of the highest level." 

Campus Reform reached out to Florida International University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.