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Old Main on Monday, March 15, 2021.

Penn State's Faculty Senate approved proposition AD84 — Preferred Name and Gender Identity Policy — on April 27, according to a spokesperson from the University Faculty Senate office.

AD84, which was recommended by the Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs, will remove gendered and binary terms from Penn State course and program descriptions.

More specifically, the recommendations include:

  • Replace he/him/his and she/her/hers with they/them/theirs or use non-gendered terms such as student, faculty member, staff member, etc.
  • Replace freshman/sophomore/junior/senior with first-year, second-year, third-year, fourth-year and beyond.
  • Additional undergraduate years, or Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate programs, that run beyond the typical timeframe, resulting in the nickname ‘super-senior’ would be replaced with fifth-year, and beyond, as needed.
  • Students in such situations beyond the fourth year could instead be referred to as ‘advanced-standing’ students to avoid any negative connotation associated with students taking longer to complete their programs.
  • Replace ‘underclassmen’ and ‘upperclassmen’ with ‘lower division’ and ‘upper division.'

The impetus behind AD84 is derived from “many classist and sexist” terms used when describing students' standing and courses at Penn State, according to the University Faculty Senate website.

If implemented, AD84 will enable students to not only feel comfortable choosing their name and gender identity but will also ensure that a welcoming environment is provided, the site said.

Following comments by the office of the president, the recommendations will be implemented, according to the spokesperson.

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