Trinity College Dublin announced yesterday a move to make the terms used for first and second-year students more gender neutral, as reported in the University Times. Instead of Junior and Senior Freshman, they will now be officially known as Junior Fresh and Senior Fresh.
An email from the college’s Provost was sent to all undergraduate and postgraduate students outlining the change:
It has been 113 years since the first female studied at Trinity College. The change to Trinity’s idiosyncratic naming system comes after a proposal by the SU Equality Committee to change all documentation referring to First and Second years was approved by the Trinity College Board.
Reaction to this has been very mixed and many have taken to Twitter to voice their opinion:
All of these words ending in -man have origin from the latin manus meaning hands, ie work you do by hand. Also "fresh" is idiotic when "fresher" is in common parlance.
— Tony Downunder (@T1downunder) November 28, 2017
Uh… when were they ever called "Freshmen". In my day we were called "Freshers", A perfectly non gender specific term. Fresh just sounds stupid.https://t.co/jQ4FccGnc8
— Leo O'Shaughnessy (@leoie) November 28, 2017
Wow – Trinity College have replaced the term "Freshman" with "Fresh" fir 1st and 2nd yr students. Congratulations on ending all sexism, bigotry, prejudice and transphobia in one foul swoop… who knew it was that easy!
— JENNY (@pvssykat) November 28, 2017
The issue most are debating is that they have gone with the ‘Fresh’ as opposed to the more widely used and known term, ‘Fresher’.
i am all for gender equality but WHY would trinity not just use the word “fresher” instead of “freshman”?? too slang-like for their liking??? “fresh” just sounds weird
— niamh (@niiiaaammmh) November 28, 2017
While I do appreciate trinity trying to be gender neutral in moving to "fresh" over "freshman", I'm lolling cause I hadn't really thought about the latter not being gender neutral before and now keep thinking of the provost cackling about getting "new, fresh men!!" each September
— robyn uaid ní dhuibhir (@rmcqod) November 28, 2017
Academia has come under fire in recent years for its gender imbalance when it comes to promoting male lecturers and professors over their female colleagues. To combat this, colleges like Trinity have been developing Strategic Plans to ensure females are no longer left behind.
To combat this organisation like the Equality Challenge Unit administers awards to colleges who are ‘a beacon for promoting gender equality’.
The Athena SWAN awards are made as part of a pilot project funded by the Higher Education Authority since 2015.
5 Irish colleges, including Trinity, have received bronze awards which will be a requirement by 2020 in order to be eligible for research funding for Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council and the Health Research Board.
By the end of 2023, all colleges will be required to hold Silver awards to be eligible for research funding.
We commend Trinity for taking steps to become not just gender-neutral but more importantly, gender inclusive. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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