For fear of being ‘ageist,’ staff at the University of Manchester have been told to stop referring to older people as ‘OAPs’ and ‘pensioners.’
Staff at the world’s leading university, as well as other institutions, have been instructed to refer to people over the age of 60 as ‘mature individuals,’ ‘older people,’ or simply ‘learners.’
Dozens of universities and schools have adopted more inclusive language guidelines for both students and faculty, which also warns against using terms such as “diabetic” or “blind.” Instead, ‘person with diabetes’ or ‘people with visual impairments’ should be used.
Age is part of the inclusive language guide at the University of Manchester.
‘Only include age if it is relevant, for example, with initiatives that are only available to a specific age group,’ it says.
Such terms are also frowned upon at Milton Keynes College.
‘Language is a powerful tool for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, but we all know how it feels when words make us feel left out or devalued,’ says the Inclusive Language Guide.
‘As part of the MK College Group’s diversity and inclusion journey, we created this guide to avoid inadvertently making people feel excluded or offended.’
Speaking about age, it went on: ‘Only refer to someone’s age if it is relevant, for example where courses or funding are only available for a particular age group.
A spokesman for the University of Manchester said: ‘Our guidance document encourages the use of more inclusive language to avoid bias or assumptions and not to talk to people in ways they might perceive as disrespectful.
‘This is in line with our values and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.’