Diversity and inclusion are guiding philosophies of First Year Programs. It is important that all students feel welcome at the UW and that their individual identities are recognized and respected. Here are a few ways we aim to create an inclusive community.
We honor the people on whose land we’re guests as a protocol for being in this area. Local visiting tribal communities would canoe to a tribes homeland and that’s where the protocols come into use. From the shore, the home community welcomes visitors with songs out to the water; the visitors then sing songs to the shore and are welcomed. Once guests land, there is a potlatch where visitors honor and acknowledge their hosts.
One way we do this is through acknowledgment of the land when we begin programs by saying the following:
"The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish people of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip, and Muckleshoot nations."
Another way to do this is to use correct pronouns when referring to others. Making an assumption and incorrectly using others’ pronouns can make them feel disrespected or unsafe, especially to members of our community who are trans*.
Trans* (adj.): Anyone whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs significantly from what is expected of them in their culture based on their sex assigned at birth, including people who are transgender, genderqueer, non-binary, and more.
We share our pronouns because we strive to cultivate an inclusive environment where people of all genders feel respected and safe. Being an ally is about behavior, not just intention.
Cisgender (adj.): Non-trans*.
So we invite everyone, including those who are cisgender, to share their pronoun. We recognize that we can't make the assumption about anyone's gender just by looking at a person.
We are happy to provide buttons to any individual student, faculty, or staff member. Supplies are limited, but feel free to visit First Year Programs in Mary Gates Hall 120 to pick up a button. If you are interested in providing buttons to a group of people, we are happy to share our Adobe Illustrator files so you can place an order. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Grammatically, pronouns are words that we use in place of nouns, to avoid repeating those nouns. In this case, we’re talking about the third person singular pronouns: he, him, his, she, her, and hers. In standard English (and many other languages), third person singular pronouns are always gendered.
He/him/his: can indicate that the subject identifies as male.
Andrew is going to be my roommate in Gender-Neutral Housing. He is bringing the mini-fridge.
Tyler would like for us to meet him at Odegaard to study for the exam.
Todd can’t go to the movie tonight because his partner is sick.
She/her/hers: can indicate that the subject identifies as female.
Monica called me to say that she is applying to be on the ASUW Queer Student Commission.
Sarah brought her new puppy to campus!
I think Brittany left her phone on the table. Do you think this is hers?
They/them/theirs: do not indicate the subject’s gender. Functions as both singular and plural pronouns.
Carl is interested in studying abroad. They want to talk to you about what to expect.
Kris is going to the Gender Discussion Group meeting with us. We shouldn't leave without them.
Jo’s fraternity is recruiting new members. Are you interested in checking out their organization?
Additional pronouns: Ze/hir/hirs, Co/co/cos, and Per/per/pers: do not indicate the subject’s gender.
Someone may also want to be referred to only by their name: Sarah went back to Sarah’s house to take care of the puppy. Jo asked if I liked the members of Jo’s fraternity. I told Jo that they seemed like fun people.
First Year Programs is invested in making sure the UW is a welcoming place for all community members. In addition to sharing our pronouns when we introduce ourselves, we also identify the pronouns we use by including pronouns on our name tags or by wearing pronoun buttons.
People naturally ask us about the way we introduced ourselves or why we wear our pronoun buttons. Starting a dialogue about the importance of pronouns can be informative and powerful. Below are some brief explanations we use to explain why it's important to share pronouns:
- I share mine because I don’t want anyone to feel unsafe or unwelcome and I think this helps.
- I think that sharing my pronouns helps everyone feel included and respected.
- Sharing my pronouns helps make the UW a more welcoming place for people of all genders.
- I want to make sure that everyone gets my name and pronouns right every time; I also want to make sure I get everyone else’s right, too!
- I believe it’s more respectful not to assume someone’s gender based on how I think they look. I’m sharing mine so that you won’t have to assume either!
- I really appreciate that you asked! I share mine because I am an active ally.
- I share mine because I am proud to be trans, and having the chance to share my pronouns at work is phenomenal!
- I share them because I think this helps to create a more positive environment for all people who live, work, visit and learn here at the UW.
- Thanks for asking! I share my pronouns because the University of Washington has a Campus Pride Index of 5 out of 5 stars and I want to keep it that way!
Dupere, K. (2015, October 18). 5 accidentally transphobic phrases allies use - and what to say instead. Mashable [Web log article]. Retrieved October 20, 2015, from https://mashable.com/2015/10/18/transgender-ally-words/#XL.a9EnFcsqx
Ferriss, L. (2015, February 04). Me and Chris Jones, we got a thing goin' on. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2015/02/04/me-and-chris-jones-we-got-a-thing-goin-on/
Shlasko, D. (2014, August). Trans* ally workbook: Getting pronouns right & what it teaches us about gender. Think Again Training & Consultation. https://fyp.washington.edu/downloads/TransAllyWorkbook.pdf
Shlasko, D. (2015, February 03). How using "they" as a singular pronoun can change the world. Feministing [Web log article]. Retrieved February 13, 2015, from http://feministing.com/2015/02/03/how-using-they-as-a-singular-pronoun-can-change-the-world/
Nunberg, G. (2016, January 13). Everyone uses singular 'they,' whether they realize it or not [Radio broadcast episode]. http://www.npr.org/2016/01/13/462906419/everyone-uses-singular-they-whether-they-realize-it-or-not
Below are additional articles about supporting students on a university campus:
120 Mary Gates Hall Box 352825
Seattle, WA 98195-2825
Academic Year: M-F 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. (PDT)
Summer: M-Th 7:30 a.m.–4:30p.m.; Fri. 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Closed during University holidays.
First Year Programs fosters a successful undergraduate student experience through strategic programming that focuses on positive academic transitions and the development of learning communities. Through partnerships with faculty, staff, alumni, and student leaders our programs create the space for students to define how they will engage, learn, and thrive at the University of Washington.