Pronoun email signatures utilized to encourage inclusivity

Abby EpsteinNews Writer

Them, he, she, their, him, her are a few of the pronouns people use to express themselves every day and faculty at Southern have been including their pronouns within their email signatures to show solidarity with students.

Some professors said this was a way for students to think about how they identify themselves.

“I’m trying to get them to think how they identify because this is a new conversation for a lot of people and I want them to be thinking, “I thought my pronouns were given, but I have a choice in the matter’,” said assistant professor of communications KC Councilor.

Many of the faculty include their pronouns for themselves, but their main goal is to show said students they have a safe place with these faculty members.

“I want students to know how to properly address me, but also students who are not out yet, I want to be a direct signal and show that I am a safe place or community for them to come too,” said Residence Hall Director of Farnham Hall Danny Starvaggi.

Most faculty members also agree that students should include their pronouns with their signatures if they are comfortable with it.

“I do think for anyone who identifies with any gender, it is a personal decision,” said Starvaggi. “You have to be comfortable because it’s like coming out in every email.”

Throughout the year, employees train with the student affairs division and a recent training dealt with the LGBTQ community.

North Residence Hall Director Nora Anderson said that North has gender inclusive housing. One reason Anderson put her pronouns in her signature is because she wants the residents to know their hall director is aware of this pronoun information.

“I am really trying to be intentional of how I portray myself to others because I want everyone to feel comfortable coming to me,” said Anderson.

“I take it as a signal when I see it in someone else’s signature line, I say ‘okay this person has some level of awareness, if they are not a part of the community themselves’,” said Councilor.

Councilor said that adding pronouns to make students feel like they have a safe place, and faculty members have other reasons why they added their pronouns to their email signature.

“I have multiple reasons, but one is because I’m transgender, so my pronouns are not a given, so I just want to be clear about what my pronouns are,” said Councilor.

Starvaggi said at first they were not comfortable including pronouns in his signature, as other faculty members felt the same way. “I would at first concisely take my signature out if I had to email family from my work email because I was not out to everyone yet,” said Starvaggi.

Now Starvaggi includes a link within their signature to an article called Why Pronouns Matter.

“Sometimes people have questions about what pronouns are and I don’t like to assume everyone knows the conversation around pronouns,” said Starvaggi. “More knowledge is more power.”

Illustration: Jessica Guerrucci 

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