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Wheaton College Prohibits Employees from Using Preferred Pronouns

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Wheaton College has updated its student and employee handbooks to make clear it does not endorse the use of preferred pronouns and does not permit its employees to use them on official business.

The change, first reported by Religion News Service, was approved in October and shared with the college community in recent days. Wheaton is a Christian college located in Wheaton, Ill.

“The College recognizes the pronouns she/her/hers and he/him/his as expressing the created reality of a biological binary,” the student handbook says. “The College neither endorses nor requests the statement of preferred personal pronouns by members of the College community.”

Wheaton College “does not permit the statement of preferred personal pronouns by employees when conducting College business, when on a platform where they are publicly identified as College employees, and/or when using the College brand in print or digital media, except when employees are required to submit such pronouns when registering for a conference or for membership in a professional organization,” the handbook says.

It ads, “With the exception of research conducted under the oversight of the Institutional Review Board (‘IRB’), College-created forms, surveys, and questionnaires should only include male and female sex options without additional gender options (although ‘prefer not to say’ is also permissible).”

A Wheaton spokesperson told RNS that “although it had been more than a decade since the policy was last updated, substantive changes to the policy were minimal.” The spokesperson said the employee handbook also has been changed, although it is not available to the public.

“The biblical principles and theological convictions on gender and sexuality articulated in the College’s Statement of Faith and Community Covenant have not changed,” the spokesperson said.

The student handbook says Wheaton College “believes that sexual intimacy was created as a gift by God to be an expression of love between a woman and a man in the context of a life-long marriage commitment.” The handbook also addresses trans surgeries, saying the college “considers the decision to undergo a medical transition or to engage in other persistent actions or behaviors at variance with one’s birth sex to violate the biblical and theological commitments for students and employees in the Community Covenant and Statement of Faith.”

Image credit: ©Getty Images/Irina Ivanova


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.


This article is part of our larger Higher Education resource library centered around colleges and universities. We hope these articles help you narrow down your search for Christian colleges and seminaries. 

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