The pronouns were "in violation of institutional policy" said Houghton University officials
Ms Zelaya: "You are bigoted assholes, I quit."
Houghton University: "You can't quit. You're fired for calling us what we are."
This is a great illustration of how the right is latching onto some outlier thing to actively hurt a vulnerable minority while repercussions affect a larger portion of the population (generally women, especially women of color) and they don't seem to care but rather find it an added benefit to the harm they are actively causing.
This is about the transgender community and they are the intended victims and we should address it simply for that reason. The professional purpose of the pronouns is for those folks with unusual or gender neutral names, and the school was happy to other these folks over that even if they do fit in the school’s mistaken idea of a gender binary. Recently in women’s sports, the right has attacked transgender women for wanting to participate, but they have been actively attacking women who succeed in the sports anyway because they do not conform to the “ideal feminine standard” mainly because the athletes build muscle. Look at the Williams sisters, they are accused of being transgender, or just men who are pretending to be women without seeking transgender medical care, because they are muscular and super successful. Michelle Obama got it too. Women have been accosted in bathrooms for being men in disguise because they don’t conform, it has happened in my presence. The right is fine with these “mistakes” because they are part of the purpose. There’s a lot of bigotry involved in this type of attacks. Many facets of misogyny, racism, homophobia and transphobia. All of this is intended consequences.
This school takes issue with any perceived support of transgender people, these two professors have names (and skin in Ms. Zelaya’s case) that don’t conform to the school’s white supremacy, she pointed out the bigotry the school is trying to cover up and they found a way to prove her right while causing her and their target du jour harm. I think the other professor was just caught in the crossfire because the school thought enough about what they were doing to know that firing her for the pronouns and not anyone else who uses them, they would not win a lawsuit. So they picked someone who also had a foreign sounding name, was male (avoid the sexism accusation) and was known for advocacy, perhaps he had done something in the past or was not liked by some administrator for some reason to even be on their radar. Not that I think the school would even face a lawsuit since Christian schools get special treatment for firing folks for ridiculous reasons.
Fun Fact: for many years, the Navy was convinced I'm a guy.
Someone's given name is about the absolute worst criteria to determine gender on. Names change gender all to often anyway, to say nothing of the exceptions that happen more frequently than one might assume. Including the correct pronoun of address is a professional courtesy that should be used more often not just to help others, to also to help ensure that communications reach the correct individual, and that applies regardless of the relative 'gender' of a given name. Also: the whole world does not, in fact, usually use the Given/Middle/Family set up most of the US and chunks of Europe are familiar with, the 'first' name given might well be a family name that would be the same regardless of gender.
Cultural awareness isn't about making sure the whole world dances to your tune, it's about learning about people who are different from you and respecting who they are. They aren't going to dance to your tune just because you're Christian, grow up and try to pretend you're an adult, mmmkay?
Private Christian school pulls bigoted crap. To coin a phrase: "We are not amused."
OT- Don the Con proves unable to hold tongue; victim asks the court to hold it for him: https://apnews.com/article/trump-rape-trial-carroll-536e9f38e84f42d53b0216293b848e08
Cheetolini's entirely predictable televised tantrum over the verdict in the E Jean Carroll case looks like it will come back to bite him on the ample posterior, as Carroll has now amended her 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 pending defamation suit to include remarks made during CNN's shitshow of a "town hall." May he continue to talk himself out of the ill-gotten gains he was always so proud of- I can't imagine anything more offensive to him than becoming 𝘱𝘰𝘰𝘳.
"if the school doesn’t embrace different kinds of diversity, they shouldn’t pretend otherwise"
I can't imagine the school (or any other christian/conservative institution) would admit it, but that's standard practice in Murrica. Statements endorsing diversity,and even nondiscrimination policies, make for great PR (and not coincidentally they frequently conform with local/state law.) But PR campaigns don't always reflect actual practices; maybe even not *often*. We've seen one story after another of companies and even municipal entities and *churches* that flout their own "commitment to diversity" and "support for minority rights."
I've personally experienced this. Back in the 90s, to supplement my writing income, I took a job with a litigation support company called Aspen Systems (now defunct). The company amassed, organized and indexed/cross-referenced enormous databases of documents for use in corporate lawsuits. (I was in charge of a team working on the suits against Hooker Chemical/Occidental centering on the Love Canal.) The company's employee handbook explicitly cited their nondiscrimination policy for LGBT employees--which was good for me to know, because I was also actively involved in getting Pittsburgh's gay rights law passed (media gigs, newspaper interviews, etc.)
After I'd been there for a year or so, they hired a new facility manager. She was thin, nervous and paranoid (we joked that she looked like Don Knotts in drag.) And she was a conservative christian. Exactly one day after the gay rights law passed, she called me into her office, told me that the fact I'm gay is "offensive to people," and demoted me from management. Yep, she did it AFTER the law passed; clever, huh? Two weeks later she fired me outright.
Needless to say, I sued. And--get this--friends who still worked there told me they reissued the employee handbook DELETING that pesky nondiscrimination policy. Can you say "own goal"? There may be people who've won lawsuits more easily, but I'm not aware of them.
To get back to where I started, enlightened statements and policies are quite frequently nothing but PR window dressing, good for business but inconvenient for conservative institutions to back up. We can safely add Houghton to the list.
P.S. That former manager of mine was some piece of work. Within three months of starting on the job, she had SIX discrimination suits filed against her, two by gay men, two by black men and two by black women. Some record, huh?
Next up, banning English classes for teaching pronouns (c'mon, we all know it's only a matter of time before someone tries it).
Or, as Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself, but if you can't manage it, go ahead and be an asshole."
Houghton recently reached out to the DeSantis administration for guidance writing its new Homogeneity, Inequality and Exclusion policy.
These two people are remarkably articulate and earnest, and the students have suffered a very sad loss at the hands of their school's calcified administration.
The word "university" comes from Old French univers (12c.), from Latin universum "all things, everybody, all people, the whole world," noun use of neuter of adjective universus "all together, all in one, whole, entire, relating to all,"
Apparently, Houghton "University" does not mean the open, inclusive-sounding thrust of the word. They want to be their students' "universe" as in a closed, completely self-contained dimension that only contains beings that they approve of.
Okay, keep on contracting your little universe, squeezing out the creative, diverse, expressive, thoughtful, and honest denizens until you achieve perfect uniformity, unvarying cookie-cutter students who will never question your narrow party line. Meanwhile, the rest of the world will continue to expand and include, and thereby strengthen and prosper.
Sooner than the administrators think, the growing mismatch and irelevelance between the "University" and the world surrounding it will result in its extinction.
Christianity continues its steady and determined self-destruction.
Manufactured outrage to keep the grift going.
To Nancy Stanley at Houghton U. over the termination Raegan and Shua for using their pronouns:
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."
(OK, so "our" isn't normally considered a pronoun. But "us" is)
Christian apologists would have us believe they have the dead-certain truth when it comes to just about everything, and yet they're terrified of pronouns. This action speaks directly to just how weak the Christian argument really is.
Christian School Does Stupid Christian Stuff; Water Is Wet.
Good, please continue shooting yourselves in the foot, Christian institutions. The kids will remember this and they won't think poorly of their teachers for letting them know what pronouns they prefer.
Thus far, I haven't been a big one for including pronouns in my email or other correspondence, though now that I think about it, my given name can be gender-ambiguous and there have been a couple incidents where I have been mis-identified. [shrug] That said, Houghton University is clearly looking to vie for the Hammer-Ass of the Year award for choosing to fire Ms. Zelaya on the basis of her including such notation as a part of her comms (and while we're at it, it doesn't get a whole lot more blatant than that letter, does it?).
So what we have here is yet another example of a Christian organization choosing to be LESS inclusive, LESS accepting, and ultimately, LESS CHRISTIAN. Ummm ... irony much?