The Courier-Mail


EXCLUSIVE: UNIVERSITY SEX BAN PC outrage as students lose marks for using everyday language in assignment­s


THE state’s leading universiti­es are punishing students using words such as “mankind” and “workmanshi­p”, claiming they are sexist.

In a PC ban that has sparked outrage, students are losing marks for using “gendered language”, including the words “she”, “man” and “wife”.

University of Queensland students have complained about academics targeting gendered word use, which is penalised as harshly as poor punctuatio­n.

Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology also have inclusive language policies that warn against using “mother”, “housewife” and “chairman”.

UNIVERSITI­ES have banned words such as “mankind” and “workmanshi­p” as sexist, and are marking down students for using “gendered language’’ .

Queensland’s top unis all now demand that “inclusive language’’ be used in essays, assignment­s, lectures and conversati­on, in “nanny state’’ policies rubbished yesterday by an angry federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham and state Opposition Leader Deb Frecklingt­on. Other words including “she”, “man”, “wife” and “mother’’ are off limits at some universiti­es.

University of Queensland students have complained about academics docking marks for using the word “mankind’’ in essays.

A politics student was penalised for using the grammatica­lly correct pronoun of “she’’ to describe a car.

“People are losing marks for using everyday speech because it’s not gender-neutral,’’ the student, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Courier Mail. “I lost marks because I used ‘mankind’’ ... and I referred to a car I owned as ‘she is my pride and joy’.”

A science student lost marks for using “mankind’’ in an essay about the philosophy of scientific method. “I lost 10 marks – it’s such a stupid thing to be marked down for,’’ the student said. “I heard of a girl in a different course who was marked down for using the words ‘man-made’ and ‘sportsmans­hip’. It’s a bit ridiculous – you can’t just ban every word with ‘man’ in it.’’

Ms Frecklingt­on blasted the “political correctnes­s gone mad’’. “What’s next – we can’t say ‘ Mother Nature’ either?’’ she said. “Surely we have bigger issues for our next generation of leaders ... I can’t believe this lefty political cor- rectness ideology that (Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk loves so much is infiltrati­ng our learning institutio­ns.’’

Senator Birmingham said it was “beyond the pale’’ that universiti­es were dictating “nanny state stuff’’.

“This just reinforces the stereotype of academic elites in ivory towers judging everyday Australian­s,’’ he said.

“Our universiti­es should be better than this rubbish.’’

Senator Birmingham said he wanted his two young daughters to “believe that any dream is possible and to pursue any opportunit­y free of sexism’’. “But that’s completely separate to these identity politics fads,’’ he said.

“I expect we’ll see more students calling out any universiti­es or academics who try to push these agendas and I encourage them to do so.”

UQ’s essay guide for political science instructs students to use “gender-neutral language’’. “The use of ‘he’, ‘him’, or ‘his’ as the default pronoun should not occur; do not use ‘man’ to mean hu- manity in general,’’ it says. “Nor should you use female pronouns when referring to inanimate objects, for instance referring to a boat as she.’’

The Oxford Dictionary states that “she’’ is “used to refer to a ship, vehicle, country or other inanimate thing regarded as female’’.

And the Macquarie Dictionary defines “mankind’’ as “the human race; human beings collective­ly’’.

Acting executive dean of UQ’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor

Our unis should be better than this rubbish ... I expect we’ll see more students calling out any universiti­es sities oor acadacadem­ics demics css who try y to o push these se agendas s and dI encourage ourage them to o do so Education Minister Simon Birmingham ( left)

Julie Duck, said gendered language could “marginally impact an essay mark’’.

“The faculty … does not have a policy to mark down students for using gendered language any more than it does for split infinitive­s, misplaced apostrophe­s, improper capitalisa­tion of words, and so on,’’ she said.

“Students are advised to avoid gender-biased language in the same way they are advised to avoid racist language, cliches, contractio­ns, colloquial­isms and slang in their es- says. Any of these matters may marginally impact an essay mark, but it depends on context and extent.’’

Queensland University of Technology students can be penalised for failing to use “inclusive language’’.

“It is also QUT policy to use inclusive language, and you will lose marks in your assessment if you do not follow these guidelines,’’ the QUT Style guide for journalism students states.

It instructs students to “steer away’’ from describing women in a “stereotype­d manner’’, such as “wife of’’, “mother of three’’, “home maker’’ or “housewife’’. The suffix “man’’ is banned.

“Words like ‘mankind’ and ‘chairman’ make people think ‘male’ rather than ‘female’ and make women invisible,’’ according to the QUT’s guide to inclusive language for staff and students. “Find words that include both sexes.”

A QUT spokesman said the style guide was for journalism students only and there was “no university pol- icy requiring the use of inclusive language in assessment­s”.

Griffith University tells staff and students that they should “look for non-binary pronouns so that misgenderi­ng doesn’t occur’’.

Its Words Matter guide labels it “inappropri­ate’’ to use the words man, mankind, spokesman, chairman, workmanshi­p or manpower.

Students and academics must refer to humans, humankind, spokespers­on, chairperso­n, quality of work/ skill or workforce. “Good morning ladies and gentlemen’’ is banned in favour of “good morning colleagues/ everyone’’.

The University of Central Queensland cautions students that if they quote from sources that use sexist material, they must use (sic) to “indicate objection to the usage’’.

The University of Sydney insists that “non-discrimina­tory language’’ be used – even if it is grammatica­lly wrong.

It uses the example, “If a student wants their results early, they should go to the student centre”. “Although this last sentence is grammatica­lly incorrect, in speech it has become common practice to use the pronoun ‘they’ when referring to a generic person,’’ the style guide says.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday said universiti­es were administer­ed by the Federal Government.

“If the Federal Government have concerns about the way our universiti­es are run, they should look to themselves,” she said.

ONCE again the Federal Government has its priorities wrong, this time in regard to flu injections ( C-M, Jun 5). Instead of wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on advertisin­g how good they are, the Government should have spent that money ensuring it had sufficient doses of the vaccine to meet demand. We need more real doctors and fewer spin doctors. Max Tanzer, Elliott Heads

 ??  ?? UQ Professor Julie Duck
UQ Professor Julie Duck
 ??  ?? An example of the UQ assessment marking
An example of the UQ assessment marking

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