After receiving a campus-wide email last Tuesday from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor administrators informing him that under the school’s new Designated Pronouns policy, he could choose the way he wished to be addressed on campus, junior Grant Strobl settled on the monarchial “His Majesty”.
“My new identity is His Majesty Grant Strobl, what’s yours?” Strobl tweeted on September 28th, urging his fellow students to follow his lead in selecting their own designated pronouns.
“I’ve always wanted professors to call me ‘His Majesty’ for some reason,” Strobl told CNSNews.com.
The Designated Pronouns policy is the work of “members of the pronoun committee who have worked the past year to formulate this process,” according to the email sent to students and faculty by Martha Pollack, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life.
It stated that “students can designate pronouns in Wolverine Access through the new Gender Identity tab within the Campus Personal Information section. This page will be used to enter/update and/or delete pronoun information with the University.”
Designated pronouns “give students the ability to tell the University what pronoun they identify with for use in our communications and interactions with them,” the email explained.
“The email suggested you could use ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘they’ or ‘ze’, but the email and website weren’t the same,” Strobl, who is majoring in political science and international studies, told CNSNews. “The website had ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘they’ or ‘make up your own’.”
He added that “hundreds of students have changed their pronouns to protest the university’s policy.”
“Students have been calling me ‘His Majesty”, those that have read the story, and it really does illustrate the ridiculousness of the policy in ignoring the English language. It just creates more complexity, more difficulty for our society as a whole, and it goes against the university’s mission to pursue truth."
CNSNews asked Strobl if any of his professors have actually called him ‘His Majesty’ so far.
“Personally I haven’t received any reactions from my professors,” he continued. "However, I have had professors email me saying that they support what I’m doing because they think this policy is ridiculous.
“However, there is one professor who teaches statistics who says she’s going to punish students who use a similar pronoun as mine.”
Professors and staff face disciplinary action if they do not use students’ “preferred pronouns,” a university spokesman told Heat Street. “If there were a persistent pattern of ignoring a student’s preference, we would address that as a performance matter.”
“University policy says that they should make a reasonable effort to refer to people by their designated pronouns. Then it said that it’ll be considered a work-related issue, that they can receive sanctions” for not following the policy, Strobl pointed out to CNSNews.
“I have some meetings with the administration coming soon,” added Strobl, who is also the chairman of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors.
“Young Americans for Freedom is fighting against the culture of political correctness on campuses throughout the country, and this new policy at the University of Michigan is an example of what we are trying to fight against,” he said.
CNSNews asked Strobl what he would do if university administrators tell him that he cannot use ‘His Majesty’ as his Designated Pronoun.
“Well, that would be unfair,” he replied. “And I will continue to challenge it in a way to make sure that we restore sanity” on campus.