UPDATE: U of W retracts policy saying “male” and “female” are offensive

Update: The University of Washington has “corrected” its earlier message to students. See below.


Original post:
Powerline, a conservative news blog, reports that the University of Washington’s new application for admission requires students to choose from a list of gender identities that does not include “male” and “female.” Why? Because apparently those terms cause “harm or offense” and are “not related to gender identity.”

According to Powerline, students who don’t have gender identity issues are supposed to choose “cisgender,” which “describes someone who feels comfortable with the gender identity and gender expression expectations assigned to them based on their physical sex.”

It appears that some admitted students to the U of W didn’t go by the official glossary, and wrote down the offensive, microaggressive terms “Male” or “Female” in answer to the Gender question on the University’s Facebook page. Which prompted the following email from Paula Shields in the Admissions office:


From: Staff at University of Washington <no-reply@schoolsapp.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 3:44 PM
Subject: Announcement: Follow up to Gender Question on Schools App
Follow up to Gender Question on Schools App
Hi, again,
Recently, I sent an Announcement, which you may have received as email, about the choice of gender on the Schools App, the UW’s private, online community for admitted students. At this time, I wish to correct a few errors on my part and misconceptions on the part of those who received the message:
• The Announcement should not have been sent to students who had not yet joined Schools App. I apologize for the confusion and misunderstanding this error created.
• I mistakenly said in that original email that if students had not yet chosen a gender on their profiles, they should choose from the list provided by the UW’s Q Center. In no way are students required or even requested to identify a gender on Schools App. In addition, the list I pointed to is a glossary of terms and is not intended to be used as a list of gender identity options. I should not have directed people to that page.
I hope it is understood that my sole purpose in writing was to underline the inclusive values of the UW and to encourage new students to respect and acknowledge the identities of others.
By Paula Shields
Admissions Staff

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