Inclusive Language at EMU

Eastern Mennonite University strives to create and sustain an inclusive, supportive, safe, and nondiscriminatory community for all students, staff, and faculty, an expression of our Anabaptist values. This value is supported in the intention of our EMU Vision (We will open new pathways of access and achievement for all students…), Strategic Plan to Diversify (Reimagine support processes for a student population that is more diverse across multiple dimensions) and policies to support student across sex, gender identity and sexual orientation (LGBTQIA+ Student Support Policy, Inclusive Community-Creating Policy).

Living into these values and policies with practices, our campus community will broaden welcome and support to gender inclusive language in the following ways: 

  • EMU will update the collection of biographical data on institutional documents to include gender identity and pronouns, in addition to the already collected gender for reporting (recognizing that the options mandated for reporting are not comprehensive of all genders). The collection of gender identity, gender for reporting, and pronouns is optional and will not be used in admissions, conduct or academic review decisions. EMU's use of 'gender for reporting' data to meet external reporting requirements never results in the release of individualized information (i.e., your responses are never released to the public). Further, ‘gender identity’ is never released to external organizations or publicly. If you have any questions about how your responses are used, feel free to email
  • All members of the EMU community strive to/are expected to use appropriate names and pronouns indicated by each individual, normalizing its use in practice and the development of inclusive space for people of all genders

Your campus name and pronouns are directory information. Federal law (FERPA) allows this information to be excluded from any public listings upon a students’ request but it will always be visible in a limited fashion on campus, especially to EMU employees.

Your 'gender identity' and 'gender for reporting' responses are biographical information that will be visible to a limited set of EMU employees. Your 'gender for reporting' response is used in EMU's required reporting and also for overall (non-individual) reports such as the EMU fact book. Both 'gender identity' and 'gender for reporting' may be used to help us study discrimination/equity issues.

All members of the EMU community strive to/are expected to follow these five practices in their campus interactions:

  • When introducing yourself, include your pronouns. Additions to your syllabus/meeting, email signature (EMU signature generator here!), business cards and res hall/office door are also helpful.
  • Don’t make assumptions about the gender or sexual orientation of others. Invite opportunities for others to provide this information at their comfort.
  • Connect yourself to resources around LGBTQIA+ related questions. (See Resource List below) Seeking the answer yourself before asking a member of that community supports your education and their wellbeing.
  • Avoid using gender binary language like ‘ladies and gentleman’, ‘boys and girls.’ Instead, use language like everybody or folks. 
  • Remember that we are a caring learning community. Allow space for members of our community to learn self and give grace as we learn with each other. 

Frequently Asked Questions


Resources for Students

Resources for Faculty and Staff

LGBTQIA+ Inclusion Guide for Faculty and Staff (JMU)

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