EducationLocal NewsIn Pursuit of Inclusivity, TCU Nixes ‘Freshman’ Label in Favor of ‘First-Year Student’

In a bow to diversity and inclusion, TCU has changed its moniker for entering students from freshmen to “first-year” students. Not everyone supports the change.
June 8, 2021
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Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, in a bow to diversity and inclusion policies, has chosen to change its name for incoming students from freshmen to first-year students.

TCU, which is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ denomination, claims that the new terminology brings it in line with “current higher education industry standards and reflects the university’s use of inclusive language.”

The change will be implemented beginning with students entering in the Fall of 2021 and applies to any student with less than 24 hours of college credit.

The change was approved in March by the Data Governance Executive Board because the changes will have a “widespread impact on information systems.”

“I am proud that TCU is officially making the commitment to this terminology,” Kathy Cavins-Tull, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said in a press release. “It is a reflection of our university-wide commitment to inclusive excellence.”

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“I think it’s outrageous,” said Chris Putnam, a TCU alumnus and former mayor pro-tempore of Colleyville. His wife and eldest son are also graduates of the university, and his second son is currently the student body treasurer at TCU. 

“We’ve been seeing this pattern of wokeness from the TCU administration and faculty senate,” Putnam told The Texan, “but it is not reflective of most TCU families and students. Most are politically conservative.”

Putnam has started Purple Patriots, a group of parents, alumni, and students who monitor and oppose critical race theory and other “woke” developments at the university. Currently, it has about 500 members and is growing daily, Putnam said.

The group utilizes calls, emails, and withdrawal of financial support when necessary to impact these policies.

According to the university’s website, diversity, equity, and inclusion are part of TCU’s core values and corresponding training is required for all students, faculty, and staff. Seminars offered include such topics as “unconscious bias,” “microaggression,” and “pronoun fluency” training. 

In September 2020, the university created the Office of Institutional Equity which “was established to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to meaningfully engage in a learning and working environment that is free from all forms of harassment and discrimination.” 

The office handles Title IX and other allegations of harassment or discrimination.

TCU did not respond to a request for comment before the time of publication.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.