Two employees at a college in New York have been fired after they included their pronouns in their emails. The employees both worked at Houghton University, located at 9771 Willard Ave, Houghton, New York. Houghton is owned by a conservative branch of the Methodist Church, according to the New York Times.
Houghton University equips students for lifelong success as courageous servant leaders through a personalized education designed to accelerate their God-given potential. This is a place where close-knit, highly relational Christian community meets transformative learning experiences.
Raegan Zelaya and Shua Wilmot both worked as residence hall directors at Houghton. They thought they were being inclusive by including their preferred pronouns in their work email signatures. According to what Mary Emily O'Hara, a communications officer at GLAAD, told National Public Radio,
Pronouns are basically how we identify ourselves apart from our name. It's how someone refers to you in conversation. And when you're speaking to people, it's a really simple way to affirm their identity.
The two residence hall directors, were asked to remove the words “she/her” and “he/him” from their email signatures. The University said including them violated a new policy.
A petition against the firings has approximately 600 signatures. Wilmot told The NYT that their terminations are a way for the University to show that is is not inclusive,
I think it boils down to: They want to be trans-exclusive, and they want to communicate that to potential students and the parents of potential students. There’s the professional piece to it and the practical piece, and there’s also an inclusive piece, and I think that’s the piece this institution doesn’t want.
Zelaya's termination letter can be seen below,
A university spokesperson told the NYT that its policy is that any extra information, including scriptures, needs to be removed from employee signatures.