- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The master of Pierson College at Yale University wants to do away with the word “master” in describing college heads, because some students are so “viscerally marginalized” by the term that they are moving off-campus in order to avoid it.

Professor Stephen Davis said he no longer wants students to refer to him as “Master Davis” because of the term’s racist and sexist connotations, The Daily Caller reported.

“I have found the title of the office I hold deeply problematic given the racial and gendered weight it carries,” he wrote in an email to Pierson students Friday, the Yale Daily News reported.

“I think there should be no context in our society or in our university in which an African-American student, professor or staff member — or any person, for that matter — should be asked to call anyone ‘master,’” Mr. Davis wrote. “And there should be no context where male-gendered titles should be normalized as markers of authority.

“I have heard stories and witnessed situations involving members of our community who have felt viscerally marginalized by this linguistic practice: students who have felt it necessary to move off campus their junior or senior year to avoid a system where the title ‘master’ is valorized; faculty members who cringe at this aspect of our college culture; tea guests who perform subtle and dexterous verbal gymnastics to avoid having to say the name,” Mr. Davis said, according to The Daily Caller.

Instead of “master,” Mr. Davis proposed that students refer to him as “head of the college.”

His email was widely supported by commenters on the popular Facebook group “Overheard at Yale” Friday afternoon. Among them was Trumbull College Master Margaret Clark, who wrote that she is “in complete agreement with Steve Davis on this,” the Yale Daily News reported.


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