What might have seemed to have a good idea turned out to be a huge blowout in the media. Back in 2013, the University of New Hampshire was trying to create a more inclusive and diverse community on their campus and posted the bias-free language guide as a resource on their website.
They discourage certain words and replace them with more socially appropriate ones, such as using “people of advanced age” instead of old people, “person of material wealth” instead of rich, “person who lacks advantages that others have” instead of poor, and “people of size” instead of overweight. However, the word that got the most attention was “U.S. Citizen” or “Resident of the U.S.” to replace the word American because the word is assumed to only mean the United States or North America and excludes South America.
After recently being featured and criticized on a conservative news website Campus Reform, the UNH President Mark Huddleston came out with a statement to explain his views on the guide, stating,
While individuals on our campus have every right to express themselves, I want to make it absolutely clear that the views expressed in this guide are NOT the policy of the University of New Hampshire. I am troubled by many things in the language guide, especially the suggestion that the use of the term ‘American’ is misplaced or offensive. The only UNH policy on speech is that it is free and unfettered on our campuses. It is ironic that what was probably a well-meaning effort to be ‘sensitive’ proves offensive to many people, myself included.
However, a university spokeswoman said that Huddleston was unaware that the guide even existed. Wolfeboro Republican State Sen. Jeb Bradley was infuriated by the guide and would not forget this incident the next time lawmakers decide how much money to provide to the university.
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