University staff have been urged not to use the word “Christmas” for fear of offending students – with one freedom of speech campaigner describing the move as “Orwellian and ridiculous”. The advice is contained in a nine-page “inclusive language guidance” document which has been circulated to lecturers at the University of Brighton.
Recommendations including asking “what is your first name” or “what is your given name” rather than “what is your Christian name”.
Meanwhile, in a table setting out what to say and what not to say to students, the word “Christmas” is rejected on the grounds of being “too Christian-centric”, with staff invited instead to refer to the “winter closure period” .
Additionally, terms which generalize based on age – for example, “millennial snowflakes” – should be avoided, the document suggests.
Staff should feel “empowered” to use “inclusive language confidently and effectively, in order to ensure that both students and staff alike feel safe, valued and respected”, it continues.
The authors explain: “Language and meaning are powerfully conditioned by the dominant norms of the culture in which they exist.
“Prevailing attitudes, misconceptions and stereotypes are embedded within modes of communication, and these factors are sometimes reflected – whether consciously or not – in the language that we use when communicating with and referring to others.
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“Staff and students ought to ignore it and have a good Christmas.”
A spokesperson for the University of Brighton told MailOnline: “This guidance was produced with our staff and students and is part of our shared commitment to making Brighton a place where everyone feels respected and valued.”
They emphasized: “The guidance is exactly that – guidance.
“Words are not ”banned” at Brighton, and neither is Christmas – as is clear from the decorations and Christmas trees in our buildings and across our campuses.”