UNC Newspaper Is Out Here Checking Privilege, Will No Longer Use Term “Freshman” Or Other Gender Exclusive Nouns

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, is taking a bold new stance against gender exclusive terms like “freshman” and “spokesman.” Get ready to have your privilege checked, bro.

Instead of just making the change quietly, The Daily Tar Heel proudly explained its reasoning in a blog post published last night so everybody would know just how inclusive and progressive the staff considers itself to be. Be weary — the whole release smacks of self-indulgence:

From The Daily Tar Heel:

In the interest of inclusivity, The Daily Tar Heel will from now on use gender-neutral language in its stories.

Every year, the leaders of the DTH are given the power to make as many or as few changes as they wish to the DTH style guide. This year, we felt it was really important to end something that has been the norm here since before we started as staffers. In 2010, 30 students marched to the DTH offices with a petition containing over 430 signatures, asking then Editor-in-Chief Andrew Dunn to reconsider his policy on “freshman” versus “first-year.”

According to the same article, under the 2008-09 editor-in-chief, the DTH did use “first-year student” but still used gender-specific words in other cases. And back in 2010, Dunn opted to uphold the Associated Press Stylebook’s ruling on “freshman” and stick with that. He felt that “freshman” was clearer to students than “first-year.” It’s been the same way since we can remember it.

But we don’t really believe in leaving things the same way just because it’s the way it’s always been, and now more than ever, we all see a pressing need to be inclusive in the way we write about people. Today, the DTH says farewell to gender-specific terms.

Instead of freshman, we will say first-year.
Instead of chairman or chairwoman, spokesman or spokeswoman, we’ll say chairperson or spokesperson.
In any other instance where a gendered term might be commonly used, we will find a gender-neutral alternative.

Questions or concerns? Email Paige at or Alison Krug and Drew Goins at

Can you imagine caring enough about gender inclusivity in the school paper to “march” to its office with a petition? Christ. “First-year” is UVA’s thing, UNC. You are a poor man’s UVA, at best.

I know nobody holds any campus newspaper to a high standard, but the DTH is one of the most respected campus rags in the country. UNC’s journalism school is one of the top in the nation — producing dozens of quality reporters every year. Its most famous alum might be the late, great Stuart Scott, who passed away last January.

I, for one, am glad a campus newspaper is brave enough to stand against gender exclusivity. Every time I hear the term “freshman,” I cringe. What about freshwoman? I’ve always said the right route would be to call them all freshpersons. How could this affect the DTH sports department? Will they call it women’s basketball still? Because that’s unfair to almost 50 percent of the population.

Luckily, TFM has obtained footage of what happened at the latest DTH editorial meeting — so we have a better understanding of what is going on behind-the-scenes:

You PC, bro?

Image via YouTube

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