In what appears to be a first-of-its kind policy, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York has told its staffers not to address students in written correspondence as "Mr.," Mrs.," or "Ms.," reports the Wall Street Journal. The school says the move will help "ensure a respectful, welcoming and gender-inclusive learning environment," and a spokesperson frames it in the context of Title IX rules that prohibit discrimination. But the Journal talks to a Title IX attorney who thinks putting the kibosh on gendered salutations is "ridiculous."
The policy has set off a debate about political correctness on college campuses, and it comes just after New York writer Jonathan Chait posted a much-discussed essay arguing that the PC police of the left is back in force and hurting liberalism. At the Daily Beast, Lizzie Crocker finds it ironic that "Ms." has been barred four decades after Gloria Steinem claimed it for the feminist cause. "Depending on your own political views, the banishing of 'Mr.' and 'Ms.' over 40 years later at CUNY is either a bracing new cultural milestone, or a symptom of political correctness gone ever wilder, and a mind-boggling waste of academics’ and students’ time and energy," she writes. Either way, teachers will be skipping the salutations.