Graduate School Bans 'Mr.' and 'Mrs.'

Illustration for article titled Graduate School Bans Mr. and Mrs.

"Mr." and "Mrs." titles have been banned at City University of New York's graduate school because it's offensive … to someone.

According to the all-staff memo acquired by the College Fix, all CUNY employees must now call students by their full first names in correspondence.

"Effective Spring 2015, the (graduate center's) policy is to eliminate the use of gendered salutations and references in correspondence to students, prospective students, and third parties," Louise Lennihan, interim provost, states to employees in a recent memo. "Accordingly, Mr. and Ms. should be omitted from salutations."


This mandate includes letters, mailing labels, bills or invoices, and any other forms or reports. The push began because City University of New York is really trying to work "within a regulatory framework to comply with Title IX legal principles." Not everyone sees the correlation between prohibiting discrimination and banning titles before students' names.

"Title IX prohibits discrimination—nothing more," he said in an email to The College Fix. "Unfortunately, this problematic justification is emblematic of a pattern that FIRE is increasingly concerned by: Title IX is being turned into a Swiss army knife that can be used by colleges and universities to justify (and provide political cover for) virtually any academic or institutional policy even tangentially related to sex or gender."

Image via CUNY.

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"We don't want to offend one person, so we're going to offend everyone else in the program!"

I'm thinking about how people of color fought to be addressed as Mr., Mrs. or Miss during the civil rights movement as a sign of respect — and now a generation and a half later we're tossing it out because, I dunno, somehow it's not inclusive enough.