Preferred Pronouns

Cultural competence is paramount in the admissions and recruitment process. It is even more imperative to continue this competency throughout the enrollment process and campus placement. Continual education and diversity training are key components in working with students and their families.

Many colleges and universities are making strides in becoming even more sensitive and inclusive of diverse students. Asking for a students preferred pronoun, having unisex bathrooms on campus, and providing LGBTQQA* Living-Learning Communities are just a few of the examples of fostering a community of inclusion and diversity on college campuses. Education professionals can also embrace inclusivity in daily interactions with students, faculty, and staff by using preferred pronouns.

What exactly are preferred pronouns?

A “preferred gender pronoun” (or PGP) is the pronoun that a person chooses to use for themself.

For example: If Xena’s preferred pronouns are she, her, and hers, you could say “Xena ate her food because she was hungry.”

 There are also lots of gender-neutral pronouns in use.

Here are a few you might hear:

They, them, theirs (Xena ate their food because they were hungry.) This is a pretty common gender-neutral pronoun. It can in fact be used in the singular.

Ze, hir (Xena ate hir food because ze was hungry.)
Ze is pronounced like “zee” can also be spelled zie or xe, and replaces she/he/they.
Hir is pronounced like “here” and replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.

Why is it important to respect people’s PGPs?

You can’t always know what someone’s PGP is by looking at them.

Asking and correctly using someone’s preferred pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity* (Gender Identity-One’s innermost concept of self as male or female or both or neither—how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the sex assigned at birth.)

When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (or, often, all of the above.)

It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronoun someone is going to use for you based on how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege, yet fail to respect someone else’s gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful, but also oppressive.

It is imperative for higher education professionals to recognize and respect the diversity of students we are recruiting; this could mean the difference between a student feeling safe, included, and respected at your institution. We are a representation of the institution we work with and first impressions are lasting.

Useful resources:
http://forge-forward.org/
http://www.transstudent.org/graphics
http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2015/03/the-genderbread-person-v3/
https://uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/gender-pronouns/

 References:
Understanding Gender. (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from https://www.genderspectrum.org/quick-links/understanding-gender/

Mateo Medina. (2011). Hampshire College Orientation Training-Materials [Brochure]. Author. Retrieved April 1, 2016.

Courtney Johnson-Benson, M.A.Ed.
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment
The University of Akron
caj4@uakron.edu

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CAMPUS SAFETY AND CAMPUS ENGAGEMENT

“What are the police like on this campus?” It’s not a question that we get too frequently, however, with current events it’s a question that we as admissions professionals need to be prepared to answer. While the majority of admissions personnel can recite facts about campus safety from rote memorization, it is imperative to dive deeper into what it is that your respective institution’s campus safety looks like. There are a variety of ways that admissions professionals can learn more about their institutions’ campus safety department. These include but are not limited to inviting campus safety to speak with admissions staff at an admissions meeting, inviting campus safety to participate at an admissions open house event, or reaching out to see if shadowing a campus safety officer is an option for staff members. Through forming a partnership with campus safety, admissions staff can increase their own knowledge about how their institutions’ campus safety works. There are also broader initiatives that can be discussed with a prospective student, such as ways that campus safety engages with the university community.

Schools such as Ohio State University utilize Facebook and Twitter to engage their communities via social media. Using these outlets, the police are able to engage their campus community and quickly update them on pertinent situations. Ohio University’s Coffee with a Cop program is a discussion forum where students are able to speak with the Ohio University Police Department and get to know who the officers are and how they plan on keeping Ohio University’s campus safe. Through this program, students are able to get to know the campus officers on a more personal level. Rutgers University has recently implemented a new program, Text to RUPD, where students are able to text the police for non-emergency situations.

As an admissions professional it is important to not only know statistics and facts about your intuitions’ campus safety department, but also know how the department works to engage with the community.  Being knowledgeable about opportunities for students to engage with campus safety (outside of a crisis situations) is a strong talking point for addressing students concerns when it comes to campus safety.

Christopher Williams
Admission Advisor
Ohio University
williac2@ohio.edu

 

FAQ Sheet: Financial Aid and Undocumented Students

Have questions about how financial aid and eligibility for undocumented or DACA students? The U.S. Department of Education has drafted a very informative and concise document that answers many frequently asked questions regarding general information about these students, eligibility for financial aid, and how to complete the FAFSA: financial-aid-and-undocumented-students.

Financial aid can be a vexing process for students of all backgrounds and to best serve all populations, admissions officers should ensure that they know the appropriate resources for their students. Please be aware of your institution’s policies regarding undocumented, Dreamers, and DACA students even if you do not consistently work closely with these populations. For some additional insight into the different immigration terms and categories, we have an informal guide that may assist you with discerning the different populations you may interact with: https://oacacinclusion.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/immigration-insight/.

Immigration Insight

U.S. citizen, U.S. national, foreign national, eligible noncitizen … Have you heard or seen these terms, but perhaps are confused about what they truly mean and the distinct differences between them? Highly complex and controversial, immigration continues to be a major area of focus in our country. Regardless of our respective personal opinions on the matter, as education professionals it is critical that we remain abreast of immigration-related issues and policies as we endeavor to foster inclusion, access, and success for all students in our daily work.

There are a host of citizenship, immigrant, and non-immigrant statuses and categories in the United States and each one has a unique set of characteristics and conditions that affect eligibility for financial aid, employment, and other numerous aspects of life. There are also countless related terms that are important to know.

While I am not an international education professional or immigration law expert, as a bilingual Enrollment Advisor who serves a wealth of students who fall into various immigrant categories, I have become a de facto resource for students and colleagues on our campus and in the greater community. Here is a very basic look at a few terms that you may encounter frequently in your work with students.

*Please note that this post should be used as an informal guide and is in no way meant to be an in-depth, comprehensive assertion on immigration law, nor is it intended to provide conclusive answers regarding immigration law or rights. Please consult with a legal professional for the most accurate, up-to-date information.

Click each term for more details…

CitizenA legally recognized subject or national of the United States (the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianna Islands), either by birth or by naturalization.

Immigrant – A person who comes to the United States to reside permanently, whether lawfully or without inspection or valid legally authorized clearance.

Nonimmigrant – A person with permanent residence outside the United States who enters the United States on a temporary basis for a specific purpose.

Naturalized citizen – A foreign citizen or national who has been granted U.S. citizenship after voluntarily undergoing the naturalization process and fulfilling the requirements established by the U.S. Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Lawful permanent resident – A person who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis through one of several different ways. This person is not a citizen of the United States, but resides in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Permanent residents are also known as “permanent resident aliens,” “resident alien permit holders,” and “green card holders.”

Refugee – A person who has fled his or her country of origin because of past persecution or a fear of future persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Applicants file for inclusion in the U.S. refugee program from outside of the United States and must be approved prior to entry. Refugees are required by law to apply for permanent residency one year after being admitted to the United States.

Asylee – A person who has been granted asylum status who has fled his or her country of origin because of past persecution or a fear of future persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Applicants are already in the United States or are seeking admission at a port of entry and may apply regardless of country of origin or current immigration status. These individuals have the option to apply for permanent residency one year after being granted asylum, but they are not required to do so.

Foreign national – A person who legally resides in a specific country, but is not a citizen of that country. Permanent residents, refugees, and asylees are all types of foreign nationals in the United States.

U.S. national – All U.S. citizens are considered to be U.S. nationals, but not all nationals are U.S. citizens. In many contexts related to education, employment, and federal aid, a U.S. national specifically refers to a person who is a native of American Samoa or Swain’s Island, which are both outlying possessions of the United States. These U.S. nationals are not U.S. citizens.

Eligible noncitizen – A term used by the U.S. Department of Education for federal student aid purposes. Includes U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents and conditional permanent residents (with an I-551, I-151, or I-551C), and eligible individuals with an I-94 who have one of the following designations: refugee, asylee, Cuban-Haitian entrant, conditional entrant, victim of human trafficking (T visa holder), and parolee.

Non-immigrant temporary visas – A visa issued to people with a permanent residence outside the United States who seek temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. This includes certain tourists or visitors for business (B), students (F, M), exchange visitors (J), victims of human trafficking (T), victims of criminal activity (U), certain classes of temporary workers, and a variety of specialized categories, among others.

  • Some non-immigrant statuses have rigid time limits for the person’s stay in the United States, while others do not.
  • People with some non-immigrant statuses are allowed to be employed in the United States, and others are not.
  • With the exception of T visa holders, non-immigrant temporary visa holders are not eligible to receive federal student aid, though they may be able to receive other financial aid from their respective state or college.

I-94 – The Arrival-Departure Record, in either paper or electronic format, issued by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to foreign visitors entering the United States.

Permanent resident card – An identification card (USCIS Form I-551) attesting to the permanent resident status of a person in the United States. Commonly referred to as a green card. Formerly called an alien registration card or alien registration receipt card (INS Form I-151).

Useful resources:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: www.uscis.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol: www.cbp.gov

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov

Federal Student Aid: http://studentaid.ed.gov

 

Shola Odumade, M.B.A.
Enrollment Advisor
Sinclair Community College
shola.odumade@sinclair.edu