True Fact: Beginning this semester, students at California State University, Fullerton with a GPA below 2.0 will no longer be put on “academic probation.” Rather, they will be placed on “academic notice.” This new wording represents an attempt on the school’s part to lessen the personal stigma associated with poor academic performance (Inside Higher Ed, April 18th).
The university’s action has prompted schools across the country to review the language they use in communicating with students who are in academic distress. Here’s a random sample of phrases and sentences that will be dropped in the months to come:
Dartmouth: “You suck.”
Sweet Briar College: “Oh, my, it looks like it’s time for a young lady we know to attend to her soiled academic undergarments!”
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Your GPA is circling the drain, and the circles are getting smaller.”
Grinnell College: “Dear Dopey DoughPersun…”
University of Maine: “You have been placed on Academic Death Watch. Beware of a hooded visitor in the night carrying a scythe.”
Florida State University: “In the bathroom of higher education your exposed academic ass is about to be consumed by a bunch of starving gators climbing out of the toilet.”
Boston University: “Hey, Brainless….”
Oral Roberts University: “Welcome to Hell’s staging area. Yes, it will be indescribably painful.”
U. S. Naval Academy: “Midshipman, your canoe is taking on the fetid water of failure.”
Lehigh University: “You are such a disappointment to your family and others who have put their faith in you.”
Let’s be honest: the time for deleting such offensive language is long overdue.