Trinity College Dublin has dropped the word “Freshman” as sexist and offensive for women as well as people who do not identify with male or female genders. From now on, the 425-year-old institution will refer to students as “Fresh.” While that makes students sound that produce, it is meant to avoid term deemed by the “Equality Committee” to be a “concrete expression of the university’s commitment to gender equality.”
The new term will apply to both first and second year students who were historically called junior and senior freshman.
The school declared 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.” Likewise, Trinity College Student Union President Kevin Keane said that “Trinity College can be an intimidating place for new students so anything that can be done to reduce that is important and welcome.”
There is of course the opposing view that freshman is viewed as gender neutral in modern usage and that, if students are intimidated by such common terms, the problem is really not the use of the classic noun.