Potter College News
Freshman Landon Lawrence advocates for a preferred pronoun option on Topnet
- Madeline Kinser
- Friday, May 10th, 2019
WKU is always looking for ways to offer a more welcoming and inclusive learning environment for its students. Student voices are important when it comes to making progress, and freshman Landon Lawrence – an English major here at WKU – is one voice that is making big change here on campus. After discussing third person singular pronouns in Dr. Winkler’s class, Landon decided to advocate for adding a preferred pronouns option on Topnet.
“When a person is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, not important, dismissed, and/or alienated,” says Landon. “Adding a preferred pronoun option on Topnet would help faculty use the correct term of identification when dealing with a student. Having this option will give people who do use other pronouns a sense of security knowing that they are recognized by WKU.”
On the first day of classes, many professors ask students to say their name and their preferred pronouns. Some may find it strange, but, as a part of the LGBTQIA community, Landon understood that his professors were trying to be respectful and not assume how their students identified. That said, stating their preferred pronouns to a classroom of new people can be uncomfortable for some students.
“The more I thought into it, I realized there are some people that are not one-hundred percent open about their self-identifications. Asking students on the first day of class in front of new faces to share their preferred pronoun can be an uncomfortable situation,” says Landon. “So why not make this an option on Topnet so that, on the first day, the professors already know [their students’ pronouns] by looking at their rosters.”
This is obviously a very important change and a step in the right direction towards equality and inclusivity on campus. WKU is always looking to provide the best environment possible for their students, no matter how they identify.
“I hope that this change will help people be more inclusive, no matter their gender. I know this change will be odd to some people and that not everyone will agree, but this is such an important change to make,” says Landon. “We may still have a long road to equality, but we must at least try, and this would be a great way to get all the faculty and students to acknowledge self-identifying pronouns.”