The University of Nevada, Reno updated its communication guidelines to ask students and faculty members not to use the term “Native Nevadan” because it could offend Native Americans.
The school’s Office of Marketing and Communication sent out its “Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Language guide” to make sure everyone on campus feels equal and included.
That means getting rid of the term “Native Nevadan,” which is “not respectful to Indigenous people who truly are native to the land here in Nevada,” the guide says.
Students and staff should instead refer to those who live in Nevada as “born and raised” Nevadans or people who have “lived in Nevada their whole lives.”
“A pack is about inclusion, about community, about helping one another, about raising up every member because we are better and stronger together than we are apart,” the school said.
Some of the other recommendations made by the school include: asking someone for personal pronouns and terms during conversations, rather than assuming them, and using “gender-neutral language” as much as possible.
“Gender is not synonymous with sex. Gender refers to a person’s social identity, while sex refers to biological characteristics. Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender,” the school said.
Students and staff are also discouraged to use use phrases “that depict groups of people or communities as prone to crime or primarily defined by their relationship to the criminal justice system.” For example, the guide says, students should say “people in prison” instead of “inmates.”
The university also hinted that it will continue to cancel certain terms and phrases it considers offensive.
“Language changes, as does what is and is not acceptable,” the guide states. “This guide is a living document and will seek to address changes and updates to preferred terminology as often as possible.”
The development comes on the heels of a recently released report by the Heritage Foundation showing that schools that hire so-called Inclusion officers wind up having a greater achievement gap between white and minority students than those that don’t.