Sunday 24 June 2018

Trinity College to phase out use of word 'freshman' for gender-neutral term

Trinity College Dublin (Stock picture)
Trinity College Dublin (Stock picture)

Sean Nolan

Trinity College Dublin has announced that use of the term 'freshman' is to be phased out and be replaced with the gender-neutral term 'fresh'.

In an email to all staff and students announcing the news today Vice-Provost Chris Morash and Students' Union President Kevin Keane say a proposal from the Equality Committee that "the title given to first and second year undergraduates students be changed from 'Freshman' to the gender-neutral term 'Fresh'" had been approved.

Currently, first and second year students are called junior and senior freshman.

Calling it a "small but important change" the email said the change will be phased in over the next three years in a bid to make it "cost neutral with minimal disruption".

Adding that this move "is a concrete expression of the university's commitment to gender equality" the email said that "the commitment of everyone will be crucial to ensuring its implementation".

The announcement ends with a statement that "as we approach 100 years of women’s suffrage in Ireland in 2018, it is timely to reflect on changes in our student body since “Freshman” first came into use, and to ensure those changes are reflected in the name we give them."

Speaking to Independent.ie this afternoon, Trinity College Student Union President Kevin Keane said he felt the move was "very sensible" and that the Union had fully supported the change.

"Trinity College can be an intimidating place for new students so anything that can be done to reduce that is important and welcome," he said.

"We want Trinity to be as inclusive as possible."

Gender-neutral toilets were opened in the College's Arts Block last year and Keane told Independent.ie that all new buildings on the campus now must have gender neutral toilets as part of the College's policy .

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