September 27, 2016
Topic: Campus News
Starting this week, University of Michigan students are able to designate a personal pronoun with the university and have the pronoun reflected on class rosters this fall.
The move is another way the university is fostering an environment of inclusiveness, according to an email to students and faculty members on the Ann Arbor campus from Provost Martha Pollack and Vice President for Student Life Royster Harper.
A designated personal pronoun is a pronoun an individual chooses to identify with and expects others to use when referencing them (he, she, him, his, ze, etc.).
Students can designate pronouns in Wolverine Access through the new Gender Identity tab within the Campus Personal Information section. This page can be used to enter, update or delete pronoun information.
Designated pronouns will automatically populate on all class rosters accessed through Wolverine Access. Rosters pulled from other systems will not have designated pronouns listed. If a student does not designate a pronoun, none will be listed.
"Faculty members play a vital role in ensuring all of our community feels valued, respected and included. Given that this process is new, we ask that faculty members review their rosters again in mid- to late October to give students time to designate their pronouns," the email message says.
These changes give students the ability to tell the university what pronoun they identify with for use in the university's communications and interactions with them.
"Asking about and correctly using someone's designated pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show respect for their identity and to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities," Pollack and Harper say.
"If you make a mistake and use the wrong pronoun, you can acknowledge that you made a mistake and use the correct pronoun next time. Please help us continue to make the University of Michigan an inclusive and welcoming place for all of our students."
This process has been developed over the past year by a Pronoun Committee. Members of that committee include: Carrie Shumaker, ITS Student Administration; Janice Lewis-Boyd, UM-Dearborn registrar; Jacob Lederman, UM-Flint assistant professor of sociology; Lisa Emery, Office of the Registrar; Robin Queen, professor of linguistics; Scott Berkley, chair of the Admissions Systems Production Team; Trey Williams, assistant vice provost; Will Sherry, director of the Spectrum Center; Mariah Zeisberg, professor of political science, Patricia Petrowski, Office of the General Counsel; and Catherine Pinkerton, Office of the General Counsel.