Editorial: The pronoun problem

(Via RA's for Residents)

In a recent “Letter to the Editor,” RAs expressed a concern regarding the new “common door dec” program installed by Residential Life. The notecards on doors have a spot to write a given student’s name and pronoun, but “Hall Directors received an email from Pamela Schipani, Executive Director of Residential Life. She expressed in this email that the inclusion of the ‘My Pronouns’ section went directly against orders, and that all RAs must be instructed to cut off or cover up this section of the door dec." RA’s believe that by removing the “My Pronouns” section of the door dec, they are sending a transphobic message to residents, even if that is not the intention of the order to alter the door dec.

It is important that students that live on campus all feel safe and welcome in their places of residence. If students receive a transphobic message from RA’s and ResLife in general, they are likely to feel unsafe and threatened in their own residence. According to Busby resident Leila Gallupe, ResLife “invalidated the need to ask people for their pronouns, it makes it seem like you can just assume what gender someone is.” This results in the exclusion of transgender students in their residential communities. It is ResLife’s mission to enhance students’ academic development by creating “safe and inclusive environments." Instead of promoting this, they issued an order that brought about a great deal of political disputes between students.

Leaving the “My Pronouns” section on the door dec gives students the option to list their pronouns if they so desire. By doing so, Reslife is not sending a transphobic message yet does not encourage students to share their pronouns. Putting a pronoun listing option on the door dec promotes the inclusion of transgender students and refraining from encouraging all students to fill out their door dec will neutralize political disputes between students regarding this issue.