Saturday, September 5, 2015

As a result of viewing the video posted @, I sent the following note via email to the University of Tennessee Alumni Association:

To Whom It May Concern, UT Alumni Association:

Please remove my name and address (both postal and email) from all your mailing lists until such time as the University of Tennessee hopefully sees fit to abandon its current "politically correct" foolishness with regard to gender-neutral pronouns. The English language has only one such pronoun: "it" and the possessive declension "its." 

I am now ashamed to be known as a UT alumna!

God created male and female--period. One's sex/gender is determined by one's DNA. Cosmetic surgery, hormone treatments, and/or political correctness cannot actually alter God's creation.

With much disappointment and disgust,

Cheryl Juanita Rutledge, B.M., magna cum laude, University of Chattanooga, 1968

Cheryl J. Rutledge, Ph.D.
Musician, Retired Educator, Editor

Now, I can almost hear a linguist breathing down my back with a “gotcha” correction: The 3rd-person plural pronouns “they/them/theirs” are also gender-neutral.

But let’s more closely consider how the various 3rd-person pronouns are customarily used. As for the 3rd-person singular pronouns (as I frequently had to explain to my tertiary-level students in Taiwan, 1986-2010), “he/him/his” designates only a male (whether human or animal); “she/her/hers,” a female; “it,” an impersonal, inanimate thing. However, the 3rd-person plural has broader usage: (1) a group consisting of two or more males-only; (2) two or more females-only; (3) a mixed group, both male and female; or (4) a group of impersonal, inanimate things, for which the possessive case has very limited usage.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported on Fri/Sept 4:

University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro informed UT Board of Trustees Friday that a university news letter article advocating the use of "gender neutral" pronouns such as "ze" for "he" and "she" for some gay students will be removed from UT-Knoxville's Office for Diversity and Inclusion's website. [ ]

That politically-correct posting ( stirred up a hornet’s nest in the State Legislature, which controls the purse strings. The gender-pronoun fiasco was added to the agendas of the Senate Education Committee and Higher Education Subcommittee for hearings already scheduled for Oct 14 and 15. TN Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) urged the UT administrators to resolve the issue quickly; otherwise, "the legislature will most certainly weigh in when we return in January" [ ].

So, was I a little too hasty in shooting from the hip? Maybe, but I’m guessing that at least a few other alumni also complained. After all, some alumni have a little more clout after receiving our/their sheepskins. J

Cheryl J. Rutledge

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