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‘We clearly missed the mark’: Stanford University says it will review its master list of verboten words after backlash — says the word ‘American’ is allowed on campus

Stanford University has admitted that it may have “missed the mark” after its campaign to socially engineer the way people talk and the words they use was brought to light and roundly ridiculed.

What are the details?

Stanford University recently embraced the recommendations of the so-called “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative” and published a master list of allegedly “harmful” words and phrases. That list was broken up into the following categories: “Ableist, Ageism, Culturally Appropriative, Gender-based, Imprecise Language, Institutionalized Racism, Person-First, and Violent.”

According to Stanford, EHLI “is one of the actions prioritized in the Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Action, which was published by the Stanford CIO Council and People of Color in Technology affinity group in December 2020.”

The list went viral last week, eliciting mockery and concern.

The university initially password-protected the list in an apparent attempt to steer the narrative, but like the lexicons of the students behind the Stanford Review, this was something they could not ultimately control.

It didn’t help the university’s cause that TheBlaze published a short list of the forbidden terms, that the Wall Street Journal circulated a copy of the full list, and that screenshots of the innocuous words fitted up for destruction made their rounds on social media.

Just days later, Steve Gallagher — whose title of “chief information officer” contains at least one “harmful” word — issued a release in an effort to set the record straight.

Gallagher wrote on Dec. 20, “Over the last couple of days, there has been much discussion of a website that provides advice for the IT community at Stanford about word choices in Stanford websites and code. … First and importantly, the website does not represent university policy.”

The master list of forbidden words “also does not represent mandates or requirements,” added the IT chief.

“The website was created by, and intended for discussion within, the IT community at Stanford. It provides ‘suggested alternatives’ for various terms, and reasons why those terms could be problematic in certain uses,” said Gallagher. “Its aspiration, and the reason for its development, is to support an inclusive community.”

The university’s master list included the allegedly harmful words “master list,” “white paper,” “he,” “straight,” “chief,” “gentlemen,” “addict,” and “walk-in.”

There was, however, one word on the list that Gallagher had to account for in his Tuesday statement: “America.”

According to the master list, U.S. citizens are not to be called “Americans,” because doing so would imply that “the US is the most important country in the Americas.”

TheBlaze previously noted that the EHLI presumed that the U.S. is not the most important country in the Americas, despite the nation being the most powerful and prosperous as well as serving as a benefactor to most others countries in the Western Hemisphere.

In his plea, Gallagher wrote, “We have particularly heard concerns about the guide’s treatment of the term ‘American.’ We understand and appreciate those concerns. To be very clear, not only is the use of the term ‘American’ not banned at Stanford, it is absolutely welcomed.”

“We clearly missed the mark in this presentation,” admitted Gallagher.

Despite the significant backlash and his resultant concession over “America,” the IT chief noted that the list will nevertheless survive this ordeal only to parameterize speech again.

“This guide for the university’s IT community is undergoing continual review. We value the input we have been hearing, from a variety of perspectives, and will be reviewing it thoroughly and making adjustments to the guide,” he said.