UF Professor lowers grade for use of the word “man”

May 1, 2017 by

By Sarah Long and Alison Wilfong –

A student at the University of Florida (UF) became a victim of collegiate political correctness earlier this semester when his “History of Water” (AMH/EUH3931) professor, Jack E. Davis, deducted points from his essay for the use of the word “man.”

Martin Poirier, a history major at UF, informed The Daily Nerv that he was penalized on his essay for his use of the word “man” as opposed to its gender-neutral alternative, “human.”

A picture of Poirier’s essay is attached below. The paper is laden with corrections from the professor, but Davis’ controversial correction can be seen in the first line of the essay. The word “man” is circled with the label “W.M. #20”, which refers to Professor Davis’ Writing Mechanics Exercise, specifically Writing Mechanic #20. A look at Professor Davis’ Writing Mechanic #20 (see below) shows an example that purports a difference between “mankind” and “humankind.”

At the bottom of the essay, Davis’ final remarks on the paper state: “Thoughtful paper, although the writing mechanics errors are killing you.”

Writing Mechanic #20, showing students the correct word choice with regards to “mankind” and “humankind.”

In addition, the night before the papers were returned to students, Professor Davis sent a copy of Poirier’s essay to the entire class and asked the students to “scrutinize” the mechanics and content of his essay for the following class period. According to Poirier, Professor Davis refers to this as putting a student in the “hot seat.”

Professor Davis’ email instructing the class to scrutinize Poirier’s paper

Although the above e-mail that Davis sent to the class maintained Poirier’s anonymity, Poirier chose to defend his use of the word “man” during the in-class critique. Poirier attempted to argue that Davis’ efforts were politically motivated. This, according to Poirier, prompted Davis to enter a rant on “how everything is political,” and how the intent for gender-neutral pronouns were “pre-baked into the original intent of the independent American nation’s values and founding documents.”

“My paper was selected for the hot seat and I felt I had to argue with [Davis] for that specific use of ‘man.’ I said his reasoning was politically motivated and he responded by saying all official grammar is politically motivated.” — Martin Poirier, a UF history major

It should be noted that Professor Davis was reached out to for a comment exactly one week ago. He replied stating he would provide a comment, although he never did.

Poirier added that this was not a one-time occurrence. He emphasized that “Dr. Davis requires us to use only gender neutral expressions” and that this was not the first, or the only form of bias he has encountered on campus. He told The Daily Nerv:

“I have plenty of more examples of bias in other courses, many much more severe.”

According to the grammar rules the professor enforces, the use of the word “humankind” is the only grammatically correct version of the word. Although “mankind” and “humankind” bear identical definitions in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, points were ultimately deducted in Poirier’s essay for his use of the offshoot, “man.”

Source: UF Professor lowers grade for use of the word “man”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.