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14th Dec 2022

University of Brighton advises staff not to say ‘Christmas’ to students

Charlie Herbert

university of brighton advises staff on language

The uni has said the guidance was produced ‘with staff and students,’ adding that Christmas is not ‘banned’

The University of Brighton has advised its staff not to say ‘Christmas’ in an effort to move away from “Christian-centric language.”

According to a nine-page inclusive language guidance document sent to lecturers at the university, staff should instead to refer to the Christmas period as the “winter closure period.”

They are also advised not to ask students what their “Christian name” is, and instead simply ask for a their “first name” or “given name.”

Generalisations about groups of people based on their age, such as labelling all millenials as “snowflakes” or saying that “old people can’t use technology”, should also be avoided.

Staff should be “empowered” to use “inclusive language confidently and effectively, in order to ensure that both students and staff alike feel safe, valued and respected”, the document says.

It reads: “Language and meaning are powerfully conditioned by the dominant norms of the culture in which they exist.

“Prevailing attitudes, misconceptions and stereotypes are embedded within modes of communication, and these factors are sometimes reflected – whether consciously or not – in the language that we use when communicating with and referring to others.

“This means that communication – both oral and written – may be offensive even when this is not our intention.”

Staff are also advised to avoid using the term ‘Christmas closing period’ and instead say ‘winter closure period.’ This is in order to “avoid using Christian-centric language.”

A spokesman for the University of Brighton told MailOnline: “This guidance was produced with our staff and students and is part of our shared commitment to making Brighton a place where everyone feels respected and valued. The guidance is exactly that – guidance.”

They added: “Words are not ‘banned’ at Brighton, and neither is Christmas – as is clear from the decorations and Christmas trees in our buildings and across our campuses.”

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