Wednesday, September 23, 2015

University of Tennessee: Stop Using “Him” or “Her”

By Professor Doom

     When writing of the madness of today’s higher education, I’ve been picking on California a bit much. This is a little misleading, because the foolishness that dominates higher education isn’t restricted to California, it’s country-wide. No state is immune from the corruption and incompetence that defines much of higher education today.

      So let’s look at the madness at the opposite side of the country from California:

--there are actually 9 new words being added to the vocabulary. The reader can click the link to see them, but will possibly become less intelligent by doing so.

     The point of this was to make a campus of 27,400 students, already larger than some towns, “inclusive” by no longer including language references to gender in pronouns. The simple fact that using this language exclusively to this one campus will exclude normal people from knowing what the heck is going on when they come to this campus clearly didn’t occur to administration. This is insane, although  already some faculty penalize students for using “wrong” gender pronouns.

     Officials have since insisted that the guidelines are not compulsory and that they do not want to 'dictate speech'.

Donna Braquet, who runs the university's Pride Center, wrote the guidelines, which are accompanied with a long table demonstrating how to replace the regular parts of speech.

      While not mandatory, there’s a real risk here. The sane people will simply continue to use the English normal people use…and will quickly become excluded by the “inclusive” nutbars that think changing the language in this way will accomplish something.

      I feel the need to point out here that gender is “baked in” to many languages in the West, but is far less a part of Eastern languages. Mandarin, for example, doesn’t have distinct gender pronouns—this presents an extra hurdle for native speakers of this language when they learn English. If admin had their way, Chinese students coming here would have an extra hurdle on top of that. It’s worth noting that despite this supposedly “superior” aspect to the language, there are still the same gender “issues” in China as here. These issues have nothing to do with the language.

      She also advises staff members not to call roll in class, and to instead greet every student by asking them to announce their name and pronoun of preference.

     Because so much of tuition is now paid for by Federal loans, the Feds want to know that the students are at least coming to class. While admin prefers professors to commit fraud and just say everyone is coming to class (because that way admin can claim more money for itself), the rules mandate that you should call roll every day. It’s reasonable enough, although with the large huge gigantic Brobdingnagian classes of today, simply calling roll is a significant chore, consuming, over the course of a semester, an hour or more of class time. Professors have no real chance of learning student names…the possibility that the professor will recall “pronoun of preference,” beyond what should be obvious, is goofiness that only an administrator with no classroom experience would consider. 

     Now, this “suggestion” has been roundly, and justifiably, mocked as absurd, but, as is so often the case, the news article misses the real issue here.

      Donna Braquet, a gay rights official at the university, wrote the guidelines,…”

     See, the above is the real problem. Higher education is getting more, and more, and more expensive, even as the teacher’s pay drops, in many cases, to below the poverty level. All the money flows, not to education, but to a bloated administrative caste that literally has nothing to do but try to figure out a way to justify their highly paid jobs.

      Part of the tuition expense is to pay for, and I’m obviously serious here, “gay rights officials” governing our universities. Where exactly do they work? In fiefdoms, in this case the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee. These kinds of fiefdoms are overrunning our campuses, sucking up dollars by the oceanful. Each fiefdom has its own staff, each usually making far more than any educator or researcher.

     Inside this particular fiefdom is the sub-fiefdom where Donna Braquet rules:
     Donna is the director of the Pride Center, which, mercifully, includes only a few assistants to Donna’s needs, as well as keeping the Center open for 12 hours a day, most days (seriously, do we really need this fiefdom to be open this much? Do they honestly get many students coming in at 8:30 pm looking for help with gender pronouns?).

      There’s a fundamental rule to fiefdoms: do not interfere with any other fiefdom. Each fiefdom is staffed with administrators whose primary concern is feathering xyr (sic, “xyr” is a proposed new word) own nest, and secondary concern is for maximum sycophancy to the ruler of each fiefdom.

      So, when a ruler comes up with an idea, no matter how idiotic (and it gets far worse than today’s topic), there’s nobody to stop it. The Poo Bah is so far removed from campus events that he may as well not be there (in fact, getting rid of the Poo Bah would be wonderful for education). The other fiefdoms won’t stop a stupid idea because doing so might lead to interference with their own stupid ideas…and nobody inside the fiefdom will dare tell the ruler xe (sic, and I defy anyone to pronounce that in a way that doesn’t sound much like “she”) is being ridiculous.

     There really needs to be an honest discussion about all these little fiefdoms on campus.  More accurately, there needs to be an annihilation of these fiefdoms, which consume much of the resources of higher education today. Not only could tuition then be lowered to more reasonable levels, but higher education would be greatly improved without all the distractions these useless fiefdoms cause.


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