When the University of Tennessee-Knoxville posted a list of suggested "gender neutral pronouns" to be used instead of the sexist "he" and "she," there was such an uproar (plus roars of laughter at the stupid-sounding new pronouns) that the university's diversity office promptly removed the directive from its website.

But UT is a public university, accountable ultimately to the taxpayers who help subsidize it.

So that didn't mean that the campus-administration fad for the gender-neutral is finished–far from it. Now Scripps College in Claremont, Calif, a private institution that doesn't have to answer to taxpayers, has come up with a set of pronourns that's even more elaborate and ridiculous than the UT set. Furthermore, instead of letting students and faculty decide for themselves whether to use them, Scripps is making it more or less mandatory for professors to learn and use the list it has devised:

The gender-identification page allows Scripps students to choose from ten pronoun options: e/ey, em, eir/eirs, eirself/emse; he, him, his, himself; hu, hum, hus, humself; just my name please; none; per, per, per/pers, perself; she, her, hers, herself; they, them, their/theirs, themse; ze, hir, hir/hirs, hirself; and ze, zir, zir/zirs, zirself.

I'd personally choose "hum" and "humself"–but your pronoun tastes may differ.

According to Student Life at Pomona College, a Scripps affiliate in Claremont:

The gender-specification option is intended to help faculty learn and remember their students pronouns.

Professors will be able to view students pronouns on their class lists and advisee rosters. Registrar Kelly Hogencamp wrote in an email to the student body on Feb. 12 that the feature has been made available for students and faculty in an effort to build an inclusive environment.

This is a change for Scripps to be more respectful of the way that Scripps students choose to self-identify, Scripps Associated Students President Alex Frumkin SC 15 wrote in an email to TSL.

Rachel Neuberg SC 17 said that this is a positive development for students in an institution that is meant to create a safe space for students to explore identity.

Ones gender identity should not be something that causes them anxiety in their everyday lives, Neuberg said. I hope that Scripps will continue to create a safe and comfortable place for its students, and that other colleges will take note so we can all work together to stop institutionalized violence.


During the transition to the new pronoun system, students are encouraged to discuss their pronouns with their professors.

And woe to the professor–I'll bet–who forgets that student A in that World History 101 class goes by "per," while Student B is merely a "hu." I wouldn't want to be up for tenure when it turns out that I haven't done my pronoun-memory work.

Scripps is technically a women's college, but lately it's gone co-ed, sort of:

The change comes just two months after Scripps approved a new admissions policy allowing any applicants who self-identify as women and applicants whose birth certificates indicate that they are female to apply for admission.

"Self-identify as women." "Birth certificates indicate that they are female." No wonder Scripps needs a lot of new pronouns.