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Penn State getting rid of term freshmen because it’s too ‘male-specific’

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The Penn State Faculty Senate voted to do away with terms “freshmen,” “sophomore,” “junior” and “senior” in a move to remove gender-specific and binary terms from course and program descriptions.

According to The Daily Collegian, the university’s student newspaper, the new policy would include replacing he/him/his and she/her/hers with they/them/theirs or gender-neutral terms such as student, faculty members and staff members. Underclassmen and upperclassmen would be replaced with lower division and upper division.

The policy said the university “has grown out of a typically male-centered world,” that many of these terms “carry a strong, male-centric” meaning and the words “can be interpreted as both sexist and classist.”