The University should encourage students to display pronouns on University accounts

Passed: March 2021 (16th)

What do you want? / Why do you want it?

Creating an inclusive university environment is something I regard to be of chief importance. Under the umbrella term of inclusivity, lies gender inclusivity.

In my opinion, the University should actively encourage students to display their pronouns on their university accounts - forename surname (pronoun/pronoun) - and email footers. My reasoning is as follows:

Making presenting your pronouns a thing that most students do makes transgender people feel less singled-out, creating greater inclusivity. When I have spoken to some of my Trans friends before, they have told me that often when informing people of their pronouns (especially those that identify outside of the gender binaries and perhaps use they/them) this comes with a lot of unnecessary fuss. Asking all students to provide their pronouns normalises not making assumptions and also normalises asking people of their pronouns. This normalisation creates a safer / more respectful environment.

I propose that the university actively encourage students who are comfortable in doing so to include their pronouns in a number of ways:

  • Staff, who are comfortable doing so, should be actively encouraged to have their pronouns attached to their name on digital platforms that the University uses and in the footer of their email. Students should hopefully take lead from their educators.

  • Email sent out to all students informing them of how to change their name on different digital platforms the University uses - with clear visual instructions.

  • Have information regarding updating your display name on all digital platforms used by the University on the website. This is essential for students who may want to change their pronouns mid-way through their university experience.

If we were to take up this idea, we would not be the only university. I have spoken to friends at other universities who have shared that their universities have already implemented this idea. At Newcastle University, student’s pronouns appear when they join online lectures and, alongside University of Liverpool, all staff have their pronouns included in their email footer.

Particularly during online learning, where we may be thrown into break out rooms with people we don’t know, it’s important that we stay mindful of things like pronouns. Including pronouns in zoom names and email footers would be such a small but impactful move.

Expires: March 2024 (16th)

Submitted By: Chloe Davison

Officer: Equality & Diversity

Area of Work: University Services


March 2021: New Policy