Princeton's move to gender-neutral communication lights up social media

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Princeton's Move To Gender-Neutral Communication Lights Up Social Media

Princeton's Office of Human Resources recently sent a memo to its staff members containing guidelines for using gender inclusive language in "HR communications, policies, job descriptions, and job postings."

The guidelines include a number of tips such as replacing gender pronouns, avoiding pronouns where applicable, and incorporating titles that are gender-neutral.

Examples include replacing actress with actor; cleaning lady with office cleaner; freshman with first-year students; male nurse with nurse; and mailman with mail carrier.

For generic terms, replacements include, average man with average person; mankind with human kind; man hours with person hours; and layman with layperson.

The memo mentions the reasoning behind the change, "Gender binary is the traditional view on human gender, which does not take into consideration individuals who identify as otherwise, including and not limited to transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and/or intersex."

The guidelines have been covered by various media sources and online commenters are predictably divided. While some have supported the changes, quite a few don't seem to agree.

One Twitter user noted, "The time and energy spent on opening Pandora's box could be spent on crucial matters!"

Another commented, "Im offended by the name of your school...isnt a Prince a title for a man? I want change!!!"

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Rare book collection worth $300M donated to Princeton
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Rare book collection worth $300M donated to Princeton
View of an ornate plaque embedded on the south wall of Firestone Library on the Princeton University campus, Princeton, New Jersey, November 23, 2011. The plaque commemorates the construction of the Class of 1877 Biological Laboratory, which was demolished in 1946--the Firestone Library was built on the site. (Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images)
View of a sculpture entitled 'Abraham and Isaac; In Memory of May 4, 1970, Kent State University' (by George Segal, 1978) between the Firestone Library and the University Chapel on the Princeton University campus, Princeton, New Jersey, November 1, 2011. The broze work, which depicts a biblical scene, stands as a memorial to anti-war demonstrators who were killed by the National Guard on the Kent State University campus in Kent, Ohio. (Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images)
A picture taken on May 29, 2009 in Colmar, northeastern France shows pages of the Gutenberg Bible discovered in a library by a library assistant, who was searching the collection for something else. Experts confirmed the discovery by comparing the extract with a photocopy of the Gutenberg Bible, which was written with the same gothic font and printed by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany in the 15th century. AFP PHOTO JOHANNA LEGUERRE (Photo credit should read JOHANNA LEGUERRE/AFP/Getty Images)
Conor Park, 8, and his sister Ripley Park, 7, look at an original printed version of the Declaration of Independence at the Capitol in Phoenix, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2003. The document will be on display at the Arizona State Capitol Museum through Oct. 12 as part of a national tour that will visit more than 40 cities. The document is one of only 25 remaining copies of the 200 printed on July 4, 1776, by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap by order of the Continental Congress, which had voted in favor of independence from England two days prior.The copy is owned by television producer Norman Lear who bought it at auction in 2000 for a reported $8 million. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Pedestrians walk past a statue of former Princeton University president John Witherspoon near the Firestone Library on the school's campus in Princeton, New Jersey, U.S., on Monday, June 21, 2010. Princeton University, the fourth-richest institution of higher education in the U.S., paid more than $10 million last year to its prosperous New Jersey community. Municipal officials and residents say the college, whose land holdings are mostly tax-exempt, should do more as they look to close budget shortfalls. Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Pedestrians walk past a statue of former Princeton University president John Witherspoon near the Firestone Library on the school's campus in Princeton, New Jersey, U.S., on Monday, June 21, 2010. Princeton University, the fourth-richest institution of higher education in the U.S., paid more than $10 million last year to its prosperous New Jersey community. Municipal officials and residents say the college, whose land holdings are mostly tax-exempt, should do more as they look to close budget shortfalls. Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
View of a sculpture entitled 'Song of the Vowels' (by Jacques Lipchitz, 1969) between Firestone Library and the chapel on the Princeton University campus, Princeton, New Jersey, November 5, 2011. (Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images)
View of a sculpture entitled 'Abraham and Isaac; In Memory of May 4, 1970, Kent State University' (by George Segal, 1978) between the Firestone Library and the University Chapel on the Princeton University campus, Princeton, New Jersey, November 1, 2011. The broze work, which depicts a biblical scene, stands as a memorial to anti-war demonstrators who were killed by the National Guard on the Kent State University campus in Kent, Ohio. (Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images)
William H. Scheide opens one of the first four editions of the Bible ever printed, which he has loaned to the Scheide Library at the Firestone Library at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., Monday, June 10, 2002. The rare books are under the ownership of a single collector, Scheide, for the first time in more than 150 years, and together for the first time ever in North America. (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)
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