Politics

'American,' 'Rich,' And 'Healthy' Considered Offensive Words In New College Guide

| by Ethan Brown

A "Bias-Free Language Guide" that was published on the University of New Hampshire's website was proved to be offensive to many people -- including the university president.

The guide was developed in 2013 by advocacy groups; the members of the groups were appointed by the university president, according to the Associated Press.

“Mothering,” “Fathering,” “American,” “rich,” and “healthy” are just some of the words in the guide that students and faculty thought to be inappropriate in use on some level. The guide, which was published online, suggests using “U.S. citizen” or “Resident of the U.S.” instead of “American” when discussing topics that pertain to Americans or the United States of America, the Washington Times reported.

The guide does not suggest using the term “American” because it “assumes the U.S. is the only country inside” North and South America, the Times also noted.  Instead of “rich,” the guide recommends using “person of material wealth” and “person who lacks advantages that others have” as poor.

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On July 30, the guide was removed from all online postings and the university’s president issued a statement condemning the guide.

“While individuals on our campus have every right to express themselves, I want to make it absolutely clear that the views expressed in this guide are NOT the policy of the University of New Hampshire,” said President Mark Huddleston. “I am troubled by many things in the language guide, especially the suggestion that the use of the term ‘American’ is misplaced or offensive.

"The only UNH policy on speech is that it is free and unfettered on our campuses. It is ironic that what was probably a well-meaning effort to be ‘sensitive’ proves offensive to many people, myself included.”

Other suggestions included using “people of advanced age” instead of “older people, elders, seniors,” and “senior citizens.” The slang term “guys” to refer to any group of people should be replaced by “y’all," according to the guide.

According to reports, the president was not aware the guide existed until last week, and it was removed shortly after. Also, the guide’s authors were a “small group of community members,” but some sources have listed the creation of the guide as a “4-commission effort,” USA Today noted.

Sources: USA Today, Associated Press via ABC News, Washington Times

Photo: unh.edu, nymag.com