Gender-Neutral Language Guidelines

Clinton Community College is committed to providing educational opportunities that enrich minds and prepare individuals to meet the challenges of an evolving workforce and global society.  The College strives to be diverse in ways that reflect the world in which we live and work.  By being intentional about creating a strong climate of mutual respect and inclusiveness, we recognize that learning experiences will be broader, richer and more meaningful for all members of our community.  

For this reason, the College strives to use language that is inclusive of all gender identities.  It is important to note that that we conceptualize gender on a spectrum which extends beyond a male/female binary.  The following suggestions about pronouns and gender-neutral words are intended to promote inclusiveness in publications, announcements, forms, catalogues, correspondence and documents publicizing or delivering information about Clinton Community College:

  1. Avoid using gendered pronouns; they do not reflect the full range of gender identities. Rephrase the sentence with a plural pronoun or use the nouns "one" or "the individual" or "the student", whenever possible.
    • Students received their diplomas, not each student received his or her diploma.
  1. Use of the second person (you and your) is also an option:
    • You have many options when choosing your major. 
  1. It's acceptable to use "their" to mean "his or her" in a singular context when the gender of the person is unspecified or not known. The singular "they" is commonly used by people who are nonbinary, that is, they do not identify as male or female. A student left their project on the lab bench. 
  1. When writing about students, faculty, and staff, ask the individuals which pronoun, and what name, to use. 
  1. Avoid assumptions about gender expression and familial relationships by replacing "daughter" or "son" with "student."
  • Your student will meet with an advisor, not  your daughter will meet with her advisor.