Campus Reform | EXCLUSIVE: Staff surprised by the unfamiliar pronouns approved for campus use

EXCLUSIVE: Staff surprised by the unfamiliar pronouns approved for campus use

Western Carolina University has added 12 different pronoun combinations to the student learning management system portal, Canvas.

Some of the added pronoun combinations include (Ze/Hir), (Fae/Faer), (E/Eir), (Ve/Ver) and (Xe/Xem).

Western Carolina University (WCU) recently added more than 10 pronouns to its Canvas student portal, a curriculum management platform. 

 The 12 new pronoun combinations include (E/Eir), (Fae/Faer), (Per/Pers), (Ve/Ver), (Xe/Xem), and (Ze/Zir), but both some university employees admitted that they were unaware some configurations existed. 

Campus Reform obtained a September 14 email from Elaine "Eli" Collins-Brown, director of Coulter Faculty Commons at WCU, which stated that the update was the result of a professor escalating student requests for the change.

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Collins-Brown wrote that in an effort “to make the platform more inclusive,” the university worked with Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Ricardo Nazario-Colon and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs to “identify the correct pronouns.”

One professor responded to that email, stating that she "certainly didn't know all these pronouns."

Collins-Brown, responding to that professor, admitted that he also did not know what some of the pronouns meant.

"I didn’t either and I’ve yet to read about all of them. I'm behind the times," Collins-Brown remarked.

WCU's “Safe Zone Program,” which provides “training, support, resources, and a network of allies...[for] the campus and local community’s understanding of gender and sexuality," includes only four options in its guide to pronouns.   

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The infamous “Gender Unicorn” is also included as a resource on the Safe Zone website as well as the “LGBTQ+ Umbrella,” which describes the ‘Q’ as an “umbrella term, under which live a whole bunch of identities.”

The Safe Zone also lists gendered terms to be avoided in its “LGBTQ-Inclusive Language Dos and Don’ts” document. Terms include “female-bodied” and “male-bodied,” with the expressions “assigned female/male at birth" listed as preferred alternatives.

Campus Reform reached out to Eli Collins-Brown, Ricardo Nazario-Colon, Geoff Cantrell, WCU College Republicans and Turning Point USA at WCU. The article will be updated accordingly.