Columbia U.: Using 'Wrong' Pronouns Violates 'Nondiscrimination Policy' but Claims Its Not a Fireable Offense

Columbia University has released a bizarre video talking about the alleged importance of gender “pronouns,” and warned that “intentionally misgendering someone” is against the school’s nondiscrimination policy. A staff member could be dismissed for violating the policy, according to the Ivy League university’s website, but the university denied that it will fire employees who misgender in a statement.

The video, titled “Why Pronouns Matter,” was recently uploaded to Columbia University’s official YouTube channel, and claimed that “normalizing pronoun sharing helps create a safer space for people of all genders and gender expressions.”

The university stressed that “a growing number” of people are using pronouns other than “he/hm” and “she/her.” Now, people are starting to use pronouns like “they/them, xe/xem, ze/hir, per/pers, and ey/em,” the video stated.

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The university goes on to insist that pronouns “matter,” because “you can’t know a person’s gender by just looking at them.”

“Asking for, and using correct pronouns is a way to respect those around you, and create and inclusive environment,” the video states. “This is especially important for queer and transgender people.”

“If you slip up and use the wrong pronouns, simply correct your mistake and move on,” the video advises.

In the vide0, the university goes on to warn that “intentionally misgendering someone by refusing to use the correct pronouns or name is a violation of the Columbia University nondiscrimination policy.”

The university even goes as far as to suggest that not using someone else’s preferred pronoun can risk negatively affecting their “mental health.”

“Words matter. Even unintentional errors can create challenges,” the video stated. “Research shows that using someone’s correct pronouns has a big impact on their mental health and well-being.”

The video goes on to advise the campus community “share your own pronouns first” when introducing oneself to others, and “use pronouns with your name in meetings, and on nametags,” in order to “create a more inclusive Columbia community.”

Columbia’s “Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policies & Procedures” state that any violation of the nondiscrimination policy can lead to punishments ranging from a formal warning to “dismissal” of employment.

Discipline may include, but is not limited to: reprimand/warning, change of the Respondent’s job duties, disciplinary probation, revocation of honors and awards, restricted access to University facilities or activities, a “no-contact” order, relocation of a Respondent’s University-provided residence, relocation of Respondent’s workplace/station, demotion, administrative leave with or without pay, suspension with or without pay, unpaid leave, and dismissal or restriction from University employment. The University may also require training or educational intervention.

The university’s website says that “unintentional and occasional misuse of a pronoun is not discrimination,” but advised staff members to avoid using what a student believes to be a “wrong” pronoun.

“It is important to keep the student’s experience in mind, because you don’t want to inadvertently refer to someone by the wrong gender,” the website warns. “Even unintentional errors can create challenges for students in the learning environment. Be cognizant of the pronouns a student uses and always try to use them.”

Columbia University responded to a Breitbart News request for comment by stating it would not fire employees for misgendering individuals.

Update — Information from a statement from Columbia University has been added to this article.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

Alana Mastrangelo