Ridiculox: Schools Are Adopting Gender Neutral Alternative To The Gender Neutral “Alumni”

Most colleges and universities have committed themselves to being more inclusive environments in recent years, including the replacement of certain terms with gender neutral alternatives. This effort however appears now to be changing terms that are already gender neutral. Schools like Loyola University, California Institute of the Arts, Rutgers University, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Michigan, College of the Atlantic, Drew University in New Jersey, Swarthmore College, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts have reportedly dumped the word “alumni” to replace it with “alumnx” – much like the move to drop Latino or Latinx. The problem is that “alumni” is already gender neutral but that does not apparently matter in claiming a new gender reform.“Alumni” of course already is the plural referencing all genders.  As Cambridge Dictionary notes, there are binary terms but not the term alumni:

“Alumni can be used to refer to men only, and in that case alumnae is used to refer to women only, but more often alumni is used to refer to either or both sexes where both attend the same school. The singular forms are alumnus for a man, and alumna for a woman.”

Thus, “alumni” is only binary in the sense that there are other binary terms available for references to male alumni or female alumnae.  However, alumni has always been used as a non-binary alternative. Thus, it has been used to refer to all women or all men or mixed groups. After teaching over 30 years, I have rarely heard any reference to “alumnae” or any term other than “alumni” to refer to multiple members.
Vermont explained it move in the following way:
“Alumnx a•lum•nx noun \ uh-luhm-niks \ Vermont College of Fine Arts values diversity, inclusivity, and respect for all. In keeping with these principles, VCFA has adopted the term alumnx to refer to our graduates. This non-binary, gender-neutral term embraces the full spectrum of gender identities within our community and reflects the college’s ongoing work to ensure a welcoming, safe, and collaborative environment.
…After thoughtful deliberation across the institution, we consider this break from the traditional term “alumni” to be a clear step toward exercising more intentional language, which we strive to implement in all aspects of college life.
While the term “alumni” in its Latin origins is inclusive of male and female, such terminology adheres to an outdated, limited concept of gender. As an institution that believes in the vitality of words, we are committed to moving beyond the default, the traditional, the assumed. We are committed to the practice of pushing back against binary systems which inherently oppress and dismiss anyone who does not see themselves within two distinct categories. We see you. We value you. With this change, we recognize the importance of language and its ability to empower those who have come through our VCFA programs. Each one of our graduates is a vibrant individual and part of a collective that upholds equity and celebrates difference. In our mission to be “a global community of artists continuously redefining what it means to be an arts college,” we openly embrace opportunities for change that embody our belief that “the arts are central to the human experience and have the ability not only to reflect reality but also to create it.” We welcome you to share your thoughts with us atalumnx@vcfa.edu”
It is an odd explanation. Vermont first states that it will only tolerate “non-binary, gender-neutral” terms. It then admits that “alumni” is gender neutral and is “inclusive of male and female.” Yet, it still states categorically that it “adheres to an outdated, limited concept of gender.” No explanation is given how it adheres to gender bias as a gender neutral term. The school simply declares “we see you. We value you. With this change, we recognize the importance of language and its ability to empower those who have come through our VCFA programs.” Yet, it ignores the actual language and only empowers to the degree that it replaces a gender neutral term with a gender neutral term.
The move is reminiscent of our own debate at George Washington over the use of the Colonials as a moniker. The student organizers asked “When we talk about the Colonial in history, what does it mean? And is that really what we want our school identity to be?” The emphasis however is the history of colonialism in the world, not the Colonial as a term in the United States. Just as we strive to understand the meaning and traditions of other countries, there should be a modicum of effort to recognize our own meanings and traditions. The Colonials fought against foreign rule. They were not advocates of colonialism. For those interested in GW, that is part of understanding our history and our values. It simply does not matter that the Colonials were anti-colonialism. The victory is pretending that they are something that they were not and then changing the term to reject a falsely claimed meaning.
It does not even help to change the name to Coloniax.
There are important issues that we should be discussing about racial and gender bias. It is hard to see how replacing already gender neutral terms advances those efforts.

77 thoughts on “Ridiculox: Schools Are Adopting Gender Neutral Alternative To The Gender Neutral “Alumni””

  1. Seems like a relatively harmless example of free speech.

    I don’t care for the alum “nix” association, myself.

    And alumniks seems a bit too Soviet.

    Larynx might be a precedent for alumnynx, which combines the x, y and non-binary “n” chromosomes in its ultima (not y alone, not x alone, but a combination of both y and x and their not y, not x variants).

    Kudos for avoiding alumox.

    Turley’s blog: Nomenklatura?

  2. It’s not as hard to follow the schools’ reasoning as Turley makes it. They want a word that isn’t part of binary language forms. The term “alumni” may often be used to refer to a group of women in English, but that’s controversial and not proper Latin, so the terms still bears the association with binary language.

    https://grammarist.com/usage/alumna-alumnae-alumni-alumnus/

    It’s also likely they adopt the term because it will be appreciated by people they feel are marginalized and need support, regardless of the technicalities.

    I’m giving up on this blog I think. Too much reflexive Fox-like material, much of it wrong, too little insightful analysis to make it interesting and useful instead of dull and harmful on the whole.

    1. It’s not controversial at all. You say its controversial but only so among a) the people who know the word in the first place and b) the micro-population of people who worry about it

      I explained it below. It is a linguistic power game waged by post modernists who think along the lines of the Heidegger quote I already posted

      1. You say it isn’t controversial at all, and then say it is among those who actually care about it. That’s the point.

        Yes, there is power in language, so yes it does matter.

        1. Sanpete:

          Language evolves naturally. No one had to madate the use of “LOL”. It became popular and caught on.

          If a new term is not popular enough to catch on, there is an attempt to mandate or force it.

          Compelled speech is anathema to individual freedom.

          One of the most basic human rights is the right over what comes out of your own mouth, or through your writing. What right do you, or anyone else, have over anyone else’s speech?

          This isn’t China…yet.

          1. Again, nothing about mandated speech here. This is about school administrations choose to speak.

            You have a pronounced tendency to see things in extremes, sadly encouraged at times by Turley. Nothing about this is remotely like China.

            1. Sanpete you are making way to much sense.
              Making sense is not well received by the participants of this blog

    2. you pretend to be above us, feel free to buzz off

      or you can address my contention that this is an ongoing postmodernist project to redirect the thinking of the lesser mortals, ie, normal peasants like us
      it is project that is an expression of Leftist “will to power”

      in some ways it is an effort at Nietzschean “transvaluation” of morality, see “Genealogy of Morals”

      See also Heidegger, “On the Way to Language”

      if you are so fancy smart petey then break that down for us and tell me why Im wrong

      1. “you pretend to be above us”

        You’re oddly defensive, considering you don’t write the blog, and I said nothing at all to imply what you draw from what I did say. Though I will say now that the comments here are full of hyperpartisan nonsense, often unhinged, and bad will, things Turley sadly does too little to discourage with the example he sets.

        Already responded to your talk about Heidegger etc, which seems ironically over-learned to state a very simple, uncontroversial point.

        1. You’re obnoxious and full of unqualified psychological assessments and projections. Why don’t you stick to making a point about politics or society in general and quit insulting the other commentators. hyperpartisan, unhinged, bad will, blah blah blah. armchair shrink much?

          1. In the face of clear irrational factors affecting the quality of the commentary, it can be useful to point out the barriers to better commentary. And sometimes it’s appropriate to call a spade a spade.

            You clearly lack self-awareness in regard to your complaints about this, by the way, and your complaints about insults. You should read you own posts. As I keep pointing out, hyperpartisans lack a sense of irony, due to lack of self-awareness. That’s essential to being hyperpartisan. People who see themselves and their side for what they are aren’t able to maintain hyperpartisanship.

          2. Mr Kurtz, you should also tell people like Allan and mespo to quit insulting the other commentators. hyperpartisan, unhinged, bad will, blah blah blah. armchair shrink much.

        2. it’s not over-learned, it’s important, and Im not talking to some flake like you who as an obvious Leftist more or less agrees, as you stated, with the general point about language

          usually here I am speaking to my people and you aint my people. My people need to appreciate that there is a deep philosophical current flowing under these stunts from academic troublemakers. They need to understand how professors like Pete Buttigieg’s daddy who was a chronicler of Gramsci give rise to candidates like him.

          Ideas matter. You just have the insults.

          1. To explain what you should have understood, it’s ironic for one who claims someone else is being “fancy smart” to decorate a simple uncontroversial point with intellectual name dropping. Yes, over-learned to make the point.

            That doesn’t mean it isn’t important, as I already said it is. You don’t need Heidegger to make it so.

            Self-knowledge, look into it.

    3. “I’m giving up on this blog I think.”

      give our best to Natacha, CTHD, bythebook, and your many other multiple personalities. You keep us entertained.

      1. Another thing about the comments here, they’re rife with wild paranoia. Not unusual for comments sections, which is unfortunate, as it clogs the comments well beyond its minor entertainment value.

        1. more armchair psychologizing from petey. gaslighting– telling us we are crazy because we understand that there is a political faction that absolutely IS “out to get us”

          it’s not paranoia to understand that we have political adversaries who have malign plans for us. That is seeing plainly.

          Your malignant comments attributing mental disorder to people who don’t agree with you, is proof positive of that danger.

          1. My, you are defensive!

            I didn’t attribute a mental disorder to anyone, not in any clinical sense. As you ought to know, terms like paranoia, narcissism, and so on have common ordinary non-clinical meanings.

            If you had read what I said in context, you would have seen that I was referring the clear paranoia in the post I responded to, which is one of many here that wildly asserts or speculates about the secret identities of people who post here, usually with no basis at all.

            But you’re right to bring up the paranoia that’s also rife here in regard to the other side, whatever side that may be. Hyperpartisanship is paranoid by nature, seeing evil and hostile device wherever it can on the other side, whether it’s real or not.

    4. Mandating speech, learning 75 different pronouns, and enforcing the use of made up words like “Latinx” or “alumnx” marginalizes people who don’t want to do it or find it terribly confusing.

      Tolerance goes both ways.

      Does it matter what gender alumni perceive themselves as? it is a plural that refers to graduates. Most of us don’t care how any of those graduates identify at any given time of day.

      1. There’s nothing in this story about mandating speech.

        But people who use language that’s offensive to others may naturally become marginalized for it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

        My impression is that tolerance is often in low supply on all sides of this issue. Certainly empathy is.

        Yes it matters to people whether they feel included by the language of institutions they’re part of.

  3. Repeal the 19th Dumbmendment…

    and all amendments subsequent to the Bill of Rights.

    The American Founders gave Americans the one and only thing they could: Freedom.

    Amendments subsequent to the Bill of Rights are “injurious to the Constitution” and have provided “free stuff” through enslavement to the state and the elimination of freedom.

    The American Founders could not conceive of a need to codify restrictions on the vote; their singular, critical omission.

    They believed that all men grasped the physically axiomatic nature of limitations and restrictions on the vote.

    They believed that no man in his right mind would allow the vote to women, the “poor,” those who constitute a “discordant intermixture” and foreigners.

    The vote has been restricted in republics since inception in Greece.

    The anomaly in the America republic is one man, one vote democrazy.

    The inmates have taken over the asylum, the American fertility rate is in a “death spiral” and the population of America is being imported and diluted.

    Where’s the future in hysteria, incoherence and existential termination?

      1. And you, Sir, are a fool who has been fooled.

        Women are great – why does irrefutably anathematic and unconstitutional affirmative action exist?

        Did the American Founders enjoy the company of women?

        Men persist.

        Women make the Men who persist.

        You go against the grain; against nature.

        America is insane and vanishing; dying, with more deaths than births of actual Americans and a population which is imported.

        Anyone in favor of that outcome is against America – traditionally referred to as the enemy.
        _______________________________________________________________________

        The American Founders gave Americans the one and only thing they could: Freedom.

        People must adapt to the outcomes of freedom.

        Freedom does not adapt to people…

        dictatorship does.

        1. You’re still a misogynist who wants to take women’s voting rights away.

          You can’t even deal with the fact that the Founders created the mechanism for amending the Constitution in Article V.

          1. Women don’t need to vote (representative government begins with voting men representing their families, your erroneous presumption is that voting men don’t well-represent the members of their families). Women need to bear and nurture children in numbers sufficient to defend and grow the nation. America persists at the mercy of 7.05 billion foreigners. That mercy could change dramatically at any moment as China et al. threaten war. You presume mercy on the part of China et al.

            The American fertility rate is in a “death spiral” and the population is now imported of non-American foreigners. You are, obviously, in favor of the full “fundamental transformation” of America; it’s complete disappearance. Good for you, patriot.

            The Constitution persisted until the still illegitimate “Reconstruction Amendments.” America has been subsumed by communism – commencing with “Crazy Abe” Lincoln’s unconstitutional “Reign of Terror” – having implemented the wholly unconstitutional principles of the Communist Manifesto – Central Planning (i.e. Fed/Treasury/QE), Control of the Means of Production (i.e. unconstitutional regulation), Redistribution of Wealth and Social Engineering (i.e. affirmative action, unfair “Fair Housing,” forced busing, etc.).

            The Constitution was written and adopted to stand in perpetuity. Have you illicitly, injuriously and arbitrarily amended the Ten Commandments?

            “…if there are amendments desired, of such a nature as will not injure the constitution,…”

            “And if there are amendments desired, of such a nature as will not injure the constitution, and they can be ingrafted so as to give satisfaction to the doubting part of our fellow citizens; the friends of the federal government will evince that spirit of deference and concession for which they have hitherto been distinguished.”

            – James Madison, Proposed Amendments to the Constitution, June 8, 1789
            _____________________________________________________________

            “the people are nothing but a great beast…

            I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.”

            – Alexander Hamilton
            _________________

            “The true reason (says Blackstone) of requiring any qualification, with regard to property in voters, is to exclude such persons, as are in so mean a situation, that they are esteemed to have no will of their own.”

            “If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely, and without influence of any kind, then, upon the true theory and genuine principles of liberty, every member of the community, however poor, should have a vote… But since that can hardly be expected, in persons of indigent fortunes, or such as are under the immediate dominion of others, all popular states have been obliged to establish certain qualifications, whereby, some who are suspected to have no will of their own, are excluded from voting; in order to set other individuals, whose wills may be supposed independent, more thoroughly upon a level with each other.”

            – Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, 1775

              1. The American Founders understood the universe and the role of women.

                Women are great. I love women. Are you kidding me? I keep one around the house. I’ve been given two votes.

                Why have you communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) forcibly imposed irrefutably unconstitutional affirmative action?

                Why do you find a need to tilt the playing field?

                Do women need it?

                Are women so incompetent, in your opinion, that they need the crutch of affirmative action, quotas, unconstitutionally mandated entry into the realms of men, welfare, WIC, TANF, SNAP, food stamps, illicit favor in statutes, etc., etc., etc.?

                Truth be known, you are the misogynist…

                and unconstitutional to boot.

  4. What a ridiculous tactic the leftists (leftix?) continually employ. It’s tiresome, inane, and lacks anything resembling either mental acuity or honest dialogue.

    Rather than defend an absurd, laughable position they will simply change the meaning of commonly used words and shift the dialogue to be a monologue about the new meaning. That allows them to contrive something to be upset about so they can lecture normal people and demand compliance with their warped understanding of reality–and if they don’t they’re labeled as haters or ______aphobics. Leftists invent new ways to allege themselves to be morally superior to non-adherents, when in reality any semblance of morality they have is indisputably situational. Without a moral mooring-point they are figuratively asea, adrift, and addled.

    As a result, they see no need for their arguments and fabricated outrage to be morally, logically, or intellectually consistent.

    In this case, they were not content to merely change the long-accepted meaning of a word. Instead they devolved and reduced themselves to changing its spelling, creating out of thin air a term that is grammatically ridiculous. However, the absurd outcome is a natural result of beginning with an absurd premise. Perhaps we could introduce a new term and beat them at their own game: reality-deficient absurdoholics.

    1. I will explain the deeper logic of WHY

      the whole thing is about POWER

      it is to make us change our language to suit them– a power exercise

      and they are doing it constantly, keeping their enemies– we the normal people– off balance.

      This is not accidental, it is intentional and by design

      “Language is the house of being. In its home human beings dwell. Those who think and those who create with words are the guardians of this home. Their guardianship accomplishes the manifestation of being insofar as they bring this manifestation to language and preserve it in language through their saying”.– Martin Heidegger

      Holding the keys to language, thus, is holding the keys to being. Letting them control our language, likewise, it to agree to dwell in a jail of their control

      Therefore I thank Turley for these articles, but the response is too mild and too tame for these would be jailers of our existence

      1. I agree with your “why” assessment. I just didn’t want to make a wall-of-text posting to include it. Thank you for addressing the motives of the reality-deficient absurdoholics.

  5. I know most Latinos and Latinas consider the term “Latinx” ridiculous. What’s more, Spanish speakers find “x” in that position unpronounceable. Isn’t the use of these “x” words discriminatory to other cultures?

    1. right lysias it shows cultural ignorance

      you can’t strip gender from nouns and adjectives in Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Occitan– it’s a preposterous and ignorant endeavor from A to Z

      1. All the Indo-European languages to which I have been exposed have gender, with the partial exception of English, in which the only vestige remaining of gender is he, she, it. All the others have it: Latin and the Romance languages, the other Germanic languages, the Slavic languages, Greek, Sanskrit.

          1. Your link reminds me that Hittite, like the other languages of the Anatolian branch of Indo-European, lacked a separate feminine gender. These languages had only two genders: animate (which divided into masculine and feminine in the other branches of Indo-European) and inanimate (what is called “neuter” in the other branches).

            1. fascinating! i wonder about Tocharian? I took a quick look and could not figure it out. Do we even know?

              say whatever happened to the Tocharians of the Tarim basin?

              Did the Uighurs wipe them out?
              Gee, what goes around comes around, I guess

              1. The Tocharians are thought to have been assimilated by the Uyghurs.

                The extinct Tocharian language is said to have had the standard three Indoeuropean genders.

    1. yes

      I find the whole Latinx thing totally ridiculous too. Are they going to strip gender out of all the Romance languages now? Pathetic

      These slackers are not busy enough doing useful work. Gut the universities of these social parasites now

  6. The pre-Social Justice alumni from these universities paid a substantial amount of money for the right to list these universities as an academic accomplishment. These credentials are marketable. Are these universities setting themselves up for a class-action lawsuit when their graduates are assumed to be toxic and subsequently not hirable?

  7. What is most saddening about this whole issue is that nobody on either side of this debate seems to appreciate that reaching for a thesaurus would be a logical first step and might produce words like “alumnus” or “graduates” as viable gender neutral alternatives.

  8. After reading the jibberish from this so called university, I must conclude there is nothing between their ears but mush.

  9. Given that, “Alumni can be used to refer to men only, and in that case alumnae is used to refer to women only, but more often alumni is used to refer to either or both sexes where both attend the same school,” your argument that “alumni” is necessarily gender neutral is inaccurate. It can be viewed that way, but it can also be viewed as inclusive of men only.

    Just as the term “men,” plural of “man” can be used to include all of mankind, including both males and females, it can also be used to include only those of the male sex. Context usually makes it clear which meaning is intended, as it does with “alumni,” so I think the whole discussion is mindless and ridiculous, but if we are going to argue about it, let’s not use arguments in favor which are actually opposition points. Doing that makes silliness descend into stupidity.

  10. Gender? Where’s your fender? What kind of people have a gender fender? Or a male bumper? A female bumper has a hole in it.
    The sign on the door to the Women’s Room– a place to poop or pee– has a sign which says “No Dongs Allowed”. Get it?

  11. The depth of ignorance and foolishness in public schools never surprises me, but one would think that there’s at least one Jesuit left at Loyola who has a grasp of basic Latin.

  12. Our tax dollars are funding this ideological nonsense, produced by activists dedicated to the destruction of Western culture. The only thing more irritating than that reality are the useful idiots that go along with it because they think they are being compassionate.

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