Columbia University employees can be dismissed for using wrong pronouns

Columbia University employees can be dismissed for using wrong pronouns

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Columbia University released a video stating that “intentionally misgendering someone” is against the Ivy League university’s nondiscrimination policy, which could lead to an employee being dismissed.

The video, titled “Why Pronouns Matter,” was uploaded to Columbia University’s official YouTube account and explained how “using correct pronouns is a way to respect those around you.”

“Intentionally misgendering someone by refusing to use the correct pronouns or name is a violation of the Columbia University nondiscrimination policy,” the video stated. “Words matter. Even unintentional errors can create challenges.”

The main campus of Columbia University in New York, on a warm, sunny, fall day

Columbia University’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policies & Procedures stated that any violation of the nondiscrimination policy can lead to punishments ranging from a formal warning all the way up to termination of employment.

The Columbia University campus
(Reuters, File)

“Discipline may include, but is not limited to: reprimand/warning, change of the Respondent’s job duties, disciplinary probation, revocation of honors and awards, restricted access to University facilities or activities, a ‘no-contact’ order, relocation of a Respondent’s University-provided residence, relocation of Respondent’s workplace/station, demotion, administrative leave with or without pay, suspension with or without pay, unpaid leave, and dismissal or restriction from University employment. The University may also require training or educational intervention,” the policy states.

The New York City university’s website says that “unintentional and occasional misuse of a pronoun is not discrimination” but advised staff members to avoid referring to an incorrect pronoun.

“However, it is important to keep the student’s experience in mind, because you don’t want to inadvertently refer to someone by the wrong gender; even unintentional errors can create challenges for students in the learning environment. Be cognizant of the pronouns a student uses and always try to use them,” the website stated.

The video also explained that some people were using different pronouns than “she/her” and “he/him,” including “they/them,” “xe/xem,” “ze/hir,” “per/pers” and “ey/em.”

The Alma Mater statue on the Columbia University campus
(Getty Images, File)

Additionally, the video explained how someone may use multiple pronouns. 

“if someone’s pronouns are ‘she/they,’ that’s just a quicker way to indicate that a person uses she, her, hers and they, them, theirs pronouns,” the video stated.

Cherise Trump, the executive director for Speech First, told Fox News this video showed why students should do their research before deciding between attending a public or private college.

“Mandating the use of pronouns is a form of compelled speech and a violation of students’ First Amendment rights. However, Columbia University is a private institution and therefore, not beholden to the Constitution in the same ways public universities are. This is why it is vital that students and parents do their research and strongly consider the pros and cons of private vs. public schools when selecting which one to attend and spend thousands of dollars on,” Trump said.

Columbia University did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.

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