The Eyeopener, April 6, 2016

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Transcript of The Eyeopener, April 6, 2016

  • 8/18/2019 The Eyeopener, April 6, 2016

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    Volume 49 - Issue 23 April 6, 2016

    theeyeopener.com @theeyeopener

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    PHOTO: CHRIS BLANCHETTE

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    RUN SPEAK  VOTE

    2 Wednesday, April 6, 2016

     ASL interpretation provided. If you need other accommodations to ensure your participation, please contact internal@rsuonline.ca as soon as possible.

    Email motions by Monday, April 4

    at 12:00pm to internal@rsuonline.ca

    Media requests to attend should be sent to the RSU President at president@rsuonline.ca

     All RSU members (full time undergrads and full and part-time grads) are eligible to vote on by-law changes, motions, & set direction!

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    Wednesday, April 6, 2016   NEWS   3

    Gender-neutal pronoun policy lacking Unlike some universities in Canada, Ryerson does not have a formal policy in place to accommodate gender-neutral language

    A lack of policy surrounding gender-neutral pronouns has created issues for students in the classroom PHOTO: JAKE SCOTT

    By Nicole Schmidt and Brenda Molina-Navidad

    A lack of university policy sur-

    ounding gender-neutral pronoun usage in the classroom has been

    ausing problems for transgender

    tudents.

    Trans Collective coordinator

    Markus Harwood-Jones, who uses

    he and they pronouns, said they

    hoose not to use gender-neutral

    pronouns in class because of how

    often professors are unwilling to be

    ccommodating. Issues that stem

    rom within the classroom, they

    dded, are the most common com-

    plaints students bring forward.

    While writing an essay earlier

    his year, Harwood-Jones used

    ender-neutral pronouns. When he assignment was returned, they

    aid the professor flagged the pro-

    noun-use as a grammatical issue.

    “This professor was very ada-

    mant. Even after we spoke and

    greed to disagree, she still ex-

    pressed that she doesn’t feel like

    t’s academically appropriate,”

    aid Harwood-Jones, adding that

    hey’ve seen other instances where

    tudents have felt so marginalized

    n class that they’ve stopped going.

    There has been a long standing

    debate within academic commu-

    nities when it comes to pronoun-

    usage. Gender-specific pronouns,

    uch as “she” and “he,” are typical-

    ly encouraged in academic writing

    over “they,” “them” and “their.” Despite disagreements over gram-

    mar, the use of gender-neutral pro-

    nouns has become more common

    and, according to the Oxford Dic-

    tionaries, is now widely accepted in

    speech and writing.

    Grammatical discrepancies are

    common among students, accord-

    ing to Jane Freeman, director of

    English Language and Writing

    Support at the University of To-

    ronto (U of T). This can make the

    differentiation unclear when some-

    body has made an error, she added.

    “Using a plural pronoun to mean a

    singular is grammatically incorrect.

    However, it’s become a statement

    of personal identity to use a gender

    neutral pronoun for some writers in context,” she said. “When it’s

    used strategically in that context,

    it’s not an error; it’s a choice.”

    U of T does not currently have a

    formal policy in place prohibiting

    or accepting the use of gender-neu-

    tral pronouns in the classroom.

    Nora Farrell, Ryerson’s Ombud-

    person who assists students with

    complaints surrounding fairness,

    emphasized that language is con-

    stantly evolving to reflect the way

    society is moving. “It’s really more

    of an inclusion issue,” she said.

    Some universities in Canada

    have adopted policies to address

    language issues. Mount Allison

    University in New Brunswick has a

    policy on the use of gender-neutral pronouns, which states that “Gen-

    der neutral language shall be used

    in all official University documents

    … as well as in other University

    communications.” These guide-

    lines were created “to be of assis-

    tance to members of the university

    community in every academic situ-

    ation in choosing words which are

    accurate, clear and free from bias.”

    York also has a gender-free lan-

    guage policy, in addition to a guide

    on gender identity and expression.

    Similarly, Queen’s created inclusive

    language guidelines, which favour

    gender-neutral phrases over those

    that make “sex distinctions.”

    While Ryerson does have a

    discrimination and harassment

    prevention policy, which includes

    gender identity and gender expres-

    sion, gender-neutral language and pronoun usage is not included.

    Andrew Hunter, Ryerson’s Interim

    Associate Dean of the Faculty of

    Arts, said there are no gender-neu-

    tral language regulations within

    the English department. He added

    that he is not aware of regulations

    within other departments.

    But Dale Smith, associate pro-

    fessor in Ryerson’s English depart-

    ment, said creating a policy for

    gender-neutral pronouns may be

    problematic because it could shift

    the focus away from the issue.

    “Imposing policy guidelines

    around language is kind of a dan- gerous approach to it and it doesn’t

    build anything but respect for poli-

    cy rather than respect for the larger

    reality that we inhabit,” he said.

    For many students, the advoca-

    cy for gender-pronoun usage falls

    on them. Fifth-year social work

    student Gabi Tabi said pronoun

    use isn’t something that’s openly

    discussed, and that it should be.

    “Some people think, ‘It’s just a

    gender pronoun, it’s no big deal.’

    But it is a big deal for me. It’s a

    part of my identity. For people

    who don’t respect those pronouns,

    it really invalidates you and your

    identity.”

    Ryerson student charged with trespassing at 10 Dundas Street By Kosalan Kathiramalana- han and Al Downham

    A Ryerson student alleges he was

    ssaulted on April 1 by 10 Dundas

    East security before being charged

    with trespassing.

    Kat Northern Lights Man — a

    first-year urban and regional plan-

    ning student — said he attempted

    o bring his bike into class in a

    Cineplex movie theatre around 1:40 a.m. after forgetting his

    bike lock.

    A 10 Dundas East security

    uard approached him for trying

    o bring his bike up the escalators

    o class. According to Lisa Peatt,

    he building’s general manager,

    bikes cannot be brought into the

    building or taken up its escalators.

    Northern Lights Man said he at-

    tempted to pass the guard, insisting

    he would not