Exclusive: Sussex are enforcing a gender neutral language policy across the SU

Gender neutral language must be used where an individual’s pronouns are not known


Sussex Union Council, made up of elected student representatives, has implemented a ‘gender inclusive policy’ meaning that SU media, outlets, and meetings are all required to use gender neutral language.

In an email sent out to Sussex students yesterday, recipients were informed that a person’s pronoun preference must be known before any official SU event or meeting. Societies must also confirm individual’s pronoun preference, and not assume all members will want to be refereed as ‘he’ or ‘she’.

The policy stated: “Students’ Union meetings, Students’ Union events, Students’ Union campaigns, Students’ Union societies, Students’ Union volunteering schemes, where appropriate, pronouns must be stated at the beginning of every meeting, even if they have been stated at previous meetings. Gender neutral language must be used where an individual’s pronouns are not known.”

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Falling under the Students’ Union umbrella, Sussex student media The Badger, URF and UniTV must also abide to the gender neutral language policy.

The email read: “Gender neutral language must be used by all student media. When conducting interviews, an individual’s gender must not be assumed and gender neutral language should be used if pronouns are not known. Where possible, pronouns should be checked before interviews.”

The email continued: “Students’ Union outlets – Gender neutral language should be used by all staff in the Students’ Union and this policy should be included as part of their induction. Uniforms for the outlets should not be gendered.

“Students’ Union communications – Gender neutral language must be used on USSU social media, news stories, and newsletters.

“Students’ Union elections- Gender neutral must be used by all those involved in elections and election candidates will be briefed on this policy prior to elections.

“Gender inclusivity training will be given to all elected officers and any relevant staff members as part of their induction. The training will be developed in consultation with Gender Liberation Sussex.”

The full policy write up can be found here.

Sussex outlets have also stated that their employees can message them to change their pronouns on their payslips.

Third year politics student, Oliver, said: “Isn’t it a bit much stating everyone’s pronouns at the beginning of meetings?”

Foundation Social Science student, AJ, added: “I think that’s a great way for the SU to make the university more inclusive and comfortable for all students.”

Sussex University are the first institute to create a gender neutral language policy. This month, Oxford University allegedly told students to use gender pronouns such as ‘ze’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ to stop transgender discrimination, however the Students’ Union denied the claim.

Sussex SU has been approach for comment.