A university has garnered a lot of attention after an internal staff memo was obtained by a news outlet that contains instructions for professors regarding word usage. Along with effectively banning the use of capital letters, professors are also being told to avoid the word “don’t” as it might “generate anxiety” among students.
The internal staff memo, according to a report by Fox News, was aimed at journalism professors at Leeds Trinity University in the UK.
In the memo, the university asserts that actions like using capital letters and the “overuse” of certain words could harm the academic performance of students.
“Despite our best attempts to explain assessment tasks, any lack of clarity can generate anxiety and even discourage students from attempting the assessment at all,” the memo reads.
“Generally, avoid using capital letters for emphasis and the overuse of ‘do,’ and, especially, ‘DON’T.”
The memo also asked professors to be “explicit about any inexplicitness” when it comes to the requirements for an assignment. Additionally, it warns that “misconceptions and misunderstandings quickly spread” among the students.
“This can lead to further confusion and students may even then decide that the assessment is too difficult and not attempt it,” it reads.
As news of the memo spread, social media users were quick to slam the guidance, labeling it as going too far in the realm of “political correctness” and that it panders to the “snowflake generation.”
Leeds Trinity University did issue a follow-up statement, claiming that capital letters weren’t banned, as many news agencies reported, adding that “it is best practice not to write in all capital letters.”
Many on social media were quick to point out that there is often little difference between a formal ban and requesting staff not use specific words or capital letters.
This isn’t the first such incident in a UK university. In September, the student union at the University of Manchester voted to ban cheering and clapping at certain events, as both actions were deemed potentially triggering to individuals with sensory issues or anxiety.
Instead, students were asked to use “jazz hands” to express their enthusiasm.
“It was argued that the loud noise of traditional clapping and whooping pose an issue to students with anxiety or sensory issues. BSL clapping — or, jazz hands — would be a more inclusive form of expression,” said a report in the Mancunion, the student newspaper.