Penn State to drop ‘freshman,’ ‘sophomore’ terms

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CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Penn State University’s faculty senate approved a proposition that would remove gendered and binary terms from their course language.

The proposition recommends that the University begin to phase out “male-specific” terms to coincide with the push for inclusive school culture. The terms freshman, sophomore, junior and senior will be replaced with first-year, second-year, third-year and fourth-year, respectively.

The implementation of the AD84 — Preferred Name and Gender Identity Policy, will also drop all gender-specific wordings as it relates to course descriptions. Any mention of him/his or her/hers will be replaced with they/them/theirs or use non-gendered terms such as student or faculty member.

Similarly, “underclassmen” and “upperclassmen” will be replaced with “lower division” and “upper division.”

The approved proposition will change the language on all recruiting materials, admission materials, scholarship information, housing materials and websites.

To view the entire proposition, visit the Penn State’s records website.

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