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University of Hull students will be marked on their use of gender neutral terms


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Students who study at the University of Hull are to face reduced marks if they fail to use 'gender sensitive' language in their essays.

Undergraduates studying religious activism were informed in a course document that their marks will be impacted for "failure to use gender-sensitive language" such as people instead of the male-centric mankind.

The document continues "Language is important and highly symbolic. In your essay, I thus expect you to be aware of the powerful and symbolic nature of language and use gender-sensitive formulations."

This isn't the first time universities have promoted the use of gender neutral terms in their academic material. Both Cardiff Metropolitan University and Bath University offer guides encouraging their students to use gender neutral terms such as 'efficient' instead of 'workmanlike'.

Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at Kent University, called it "lingustic policing."

"Usually such threats are implicit rather than spelt out as in the case of Hull," he said. "This linguistic policing is used as a coercive tool to impose a conformist outlook. The alternative is to pay a penalty of being marked down.”

A senior lecturer at the University of Hull said of the document: "Language is powerful and we place a high emphasis on gender-neutral language on our courses. Should any student use language which is not deemed gender neutral, they will be offered feedback as to why. Deduction of marks is taken on a case by case basis."

Images by John Lord and Stephen Horncastle.

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