In general, MCLA uses AP Style when writing College materials. When drafting a press release or any other College communication, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind. When in doubt, please email firstname.lastname@example.org; someone from the Office of Communications and Marketing can help.
You may use alumna when referring to a woman who has attended a school; alumnus when referring to a man who has attended a school; or alum or graduate as a singular, gender-neutral option. Use alumni or graduates when referring to a group of multiple genders. Use alumnae when referring to a group of women only.
Use the term “first-year” as a gender-neutral way to replace the word “freshman.”
List abbreviated graduate degree following undergraduate degree. i.e. Mary Brown ’81 M.S. ’95
Certain additions or deletions to the standard rules for listing alumni degrees and grad years may occur for special use in invitations and name tags.
Honorary titles may be used with discretion as long as they are used consistently. For alumni who have earned a doctorate at another school, a “Dr.” may appear in front of the name, but that information should not appear in the listing of the degrees that happens after the name
Event organizers may choose to abbreviate or delete certain alumni degree and grad year listings on name tags, but we suggest always keeping the grad year/s at a minimum.
Because English has no generic singular – or common-sex – pronoun, we have used “he,” “his,” and “him” in such expressions as “the student...he.” When we constantly personify “the judge,” “the critic,” “the executive,” “the author,” and so forth as male by using the pronoun he, we are subtly conditioning ourselves against the idea of a female judge, critic, executive, or author. There are several alternative approaches.
Recast into the plural
Use: Give students their papers as soon as they are finished. Not: Give each student his paper as soon as he is finished.
Reword to eliminate gender problems
Use: The average student is worried about grades. Not: The average student is worried about his grades.
Use chair or chairperson, even if you know the gender of the person involved.
Although “man” in its original sense carried the dual meaning of adult human and adult male, its meaning has come to be so closely identified with adult male that the generic use of “man” and other words with masculine markers should be replaced with non-gender specific language.
mankind → humanity, people, human beings
man’s achievements → human achievements
the best man for the job → the best person for the job
man-made → synthetic, manufactured, machine-made
the common man → the average person, ordinary people
man the stockroom → staff the stockroom
nine man-hours → nine staff-hours
Adapted from UMBC Brand and Style Guidelines
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Guidelines for Writing About People With Disabilities https://adata.org/factsheet/ADANN-writing
GLAAD Media Reference Guide https://www.glaad.org/reference
Harvard Education School’s guide “Inclusive Language in Four Easy Steps” https://www.extension.harvard.edu/professional-development/blog/inclusive-language-four-easy-steps