Fordham University’s Political Science department announced on Thursday that it had voted unanimously to adopt a new policy regarding students’ preferred names and gender pronouns. The policy mandates that professors must use a student’s “preferred” name and pronouns.
The Political Science department joins the university’s Modern Languages and Literature as the second department to adopt the new policy, which allows students to mandate that their professors and other faculty members refer to them by their preferred name and pronouns.
The department announced its unanimous decision in a tweet on Thursday.
The Department of Political science voted unanimously to adopt the Chosen Name / Pronoun policy confirming that any students who wish to be identified by a chosen name can contact their faculty members via email and request their chosen name and pronoun be used.
— Fordham Political Science (@FordhamPosc) November 8, 2018
The decision was announced just two weeks after Fordham undergraduate and law school activist groups demanded that the university publicly “resist transphobic rhetoric.”
Students were inspired to make these demands after reading an article by the New York Times, which reported that the Trump administration had been considering defining sex as “male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.”
“The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence,” suggested the Department of Health and Human Services in a memo, according to the New York Times.
“I know the politicians attacking our civil liberties never wanted liberation for trans and queer people, or for immigrants, the working class, people of color or women,” said student Eliza Putnam, “While we fight against the worst impacts of the onslaught of policies from our federal government, we must always tune into our own communities, and see how we can provide sanctuary there.”
Since then, students have been putting pressure on the university, demanding more accommodations for trans students.
“I’m angry right now, and I have every goddamn right to be,” said a trans student at an October 31 public forum on campus, “Seeing the news about what the government’s trying to do, is like, it’s really tough. It hurts, and it’s painful, and it’s just really difficult to watch, and like, still like, try to function as a human being.”
“It’s important [professors] understand it — not only that they follow it,” said Fiona Whalen, to Fordham’s student newspaper The Observer, referring to the new pronoun policy adopted by the Political Science department.
Whalen is a student who has been working closely with both departments to construct the new policy and ensure that university staff follows its new mandate. She hopes to eventually see this policy implemented across the university.
On November 5, attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit against officials at a university in Ohio. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a philosophy professor, who says he was punished by Shawnee State University after refusing to use a student’s preferred gender pronoun.
The professor had rejected a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman, citing his Christian beliefs for doing so.
Fordham University did not respond to Breitbart News’ inquiry as to whether professors can expect to be subject to disciplinary action if they refuse to follow the new policy’s mandate.