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University departments ditch genderless term ‘alumni’…for genderless ‘alumnx’

Latin derived word is originally genderless

College departments across the country are avoiding the term “alumni,” opting instead to use “alumnx,” even though the original term is gender neutral.

A Google search of the term “alumnx” returns a long list of results from American colleges using the term, though most are specific to departments and specialized resource centers. They include the University of California-San Diego, Syracuse University, University of Michigan and Loyola University of Maryland, primarily on LGBTQ+ resource pages.

The term “alumni” is a latin word that derives from the root word “alumnus,” meaning “pupil,” according to the online etymology dictionary. “Alumni” is the gender-neutral plural form of the word. Some websites use “alumnx” and “alumni” interchangeably.

The discovery was made Sunday by Jordan Lancaster, a freelance contributor to The Daily Caller and Washington Examiner. She tweeted a series of screenshots from different schools with the caption “seize the endowments.” They included images from Rutgers University, UC-San Diego, UMich and Vermont College of Fine Arts.

The tweet drew attention from many conservative users, who mocked the practice. Lancaster called it “an issue that only matters to people extremely in the university bubble.”

UC-San Diego uses “alumnx” on its critical gender studies major website, including in the URL, but the website also uses the more familiar “alumni” in the text of the page. A request for comment Sunday seeking clarification was not immediately returned.

At Syracuse, the LGBT resource center uses “alumnx” in both the URL and throughout the page, only using “alumni” when referencing the school’s alumni association. Syracuse did not immediately respond to The Fix’s request for comment.

The academic program of “intergroup relations” at the University of Michigan includes the term on its page, but uses it interchangeably with “alumni” and “alumna” on the site, with no clear pattern. A request for comment Sunday was not immediately returned.

The LGBTQ+ services website for Loyola University of Maryland uses “alumnx” for its website, but uses “alumni” as well.

“Welcome to Loyola’s LGBTQ+ Alumnx page! As Loyola starts to expand LGBTQ+ visibility, we are looking to maintain an active database of a/sexuality and a/gender diverse alumni to support, encourage, and connect current students with alumni of Loyola University Maryland,” the website reads, again showing no clear pattern of the use of the terms. The Fix’s request for comment was not immediately returned.

IMAGE: Nat Ax/shutterstock

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