A University of Michigan student was able to successfully change his preferred pronoun to "His Majesty" as a way of protesting the school's new policy which forces professors to use non-traditional pronouns on a student's request.
The school unveiled a new webpage, allowing students to choose their preferred pronoun, including "they" or "ze." The student's choice appears on professors' class roster, according to Heat Street, and the faculty members are required to use the pronoun listed.
“If there were a persistent pattern of ignoring a student’s preference, we would address that as a performance matter," a university spokesman said to Heat Street.
One student, Grant Strobl, decided to make a joke out of the new system and showcase the problems with what he feels to be an absurd policy. On the website, he declared his pronoun to be "His Majesty." Sure enough, his preferred pronoun appeared on all of his professors' class rosters.
"I henceforth shall be referred to as: His Majesty, Grant Strobl. I encourage all U-M students to go [online] and insert the identity of their dreams," he told The College Fix.
Strobl said that he has "no problem with students asking to be identified a certain way, almost like someone named Richard who would like to be called Dick. It is respectful to make a reasonable effort to refer to students in the way that they prefer."
However, he does take issue with an administration institutionalizing a policy that, to him, has no basis in reality and could punish those who do not call students by their sometimes "arbitrary" pronouns.
The school's new system came after a student petition argued that it is a "mentally and emotionally draining experience for individuals who constantly have to inform or correct professors of their identity," according to Heat Street.
By allowing students to appear on class rosters with their preferred pronouns, it “will prevent the erasure of nonbinary individuals who use neopronouns or they/them pronouns,”
The petition garnered 750 signatures on Change.org and was spearheaded by a campus group known as Wolverines for Preferred Pronouns Initiative. The school newspaper endorsed the idea and Student Government passed a resolution in favor as well.