On Monday afternoon, the University of Michigan released a statement to students, faculty and staff announcing a new online process allowing students to designate their preferred pronouns to the University.
To access this new feature, according to the statement released by the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Martha Pollack, and The Vice President for Student Life, E. Royster Harper, students can use a new Gender Identity tab under Campus Personal Information. This information will then be used in class rosters that are pulled from Wolverine Access. To account for the new changes, faculty have been advised to regenerate their class rosters later in October to account for changes.
The official statement explains that “Asking about and correctly using someone’s designated pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity and to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities. 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.”
The members of this “Pronoun Committee” include both professors and administrators although some student government members have been involved in pushing for this initiative. In the email shared with the campus community the following individuals are listed by name and thanked for their involvement in creating this new pronoun identification system: Carrie Shumaker, ITS Student Administration; Janice Lewis-Boyd, Registrar, U-M Dearborn; Jacob Lederman, Prof. of Sociology, UM-Flint; Lisa Emery, Office of the Registrar; Robin Queen, Prof. 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, Prof. of Political Science, Patricia Petrowski, Office of the General Counsel, and Cathy Dehlin, Office of the General Counsel.
Throughout the email announcement, the university reiterated its commitment to creating an inclusive community where members feel valued, respected, and included.