University removes 'bias-free language guide' from website

AP News
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Posted: Jul 30, 2015 4:45 PM

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) — The University of New Hampshire has removed from its website a "bias-free language guide" that warned against using the word "American" because it fails to recognize South America.

The guide was developed in 2013 by several advocacy groups whose members are appointed by the university president. It was mentioned in an annual report submitted by at least one of those groups in 2014, but the university said administrators did not know about it until this week, when it was criticized in the media.

On Wednesday, President Mark Huddleston said the guide was not campus policy and that he was offended by many of its entries. On Thursday, he ordered a review of the university's online posting policies.

The university issued a statement saying he was "surprised and unhappy" to learn that there are no rules for making it clear which of the university's 1 million web pages include official policies and which feature content that reflects the opinion of community members.

It suggested replacements for common terms, such as "person of material wealth" instead of rich and "person who lacks advantages that others have" instead of poor.

Until Thursday, the guide was posted on a university website detailing its efforts to create an inclusive, diverse and equitable community. The authors said it was meant to encourage critical thinking about language.

"The president fully supports efforts to encourage inclusivity and diversity on our campuses," the university said Thursday. "He does not believe the guide was in any way helpful in achieving those goals. Speech guides or codes have no place at any American university.