The Wall Street Journal reports that the Brown Admissions Office has lost its marbles.
Brown University in Providence, R.I. houses one of the countryâ€™s most selective undergraduate colleges. The Brown Daily Herald, a student-run newspaper, cites Dean of Admission Logan Powell in reporting that the school received a record-high 32,724 applications this year, and admitted just 8.3% of applicants.
Among those lucky few is the daughter of a Journal reader who is still trying to make sense of a letter the family received this week from Mr. Powell. Our readerâ€™s bright daughter had already received news of her acceptance when a letter arrived that was addressed to her â€œParent/Guardian.â€
Oddly, the note referred to the accepted student not as â€œsheâ€ but as â€œthey.â€ Dean Powellâ€™s letter also stated that our readerâ€™s daughter had no doubt worked hard and made positive contributions to â€œtheirâ€ school and community. Our reader reports that his perplexed family initially thought that Brown had made a word-processing error. That was before they listened to a voice mail message from the school congratulating his daughter and referring to her as â€œthem.â€…
It turns out that the errors were intentional. Brown spokesman Brian Clark writes in an email that â€œour admission office typically refers to applicants either by first name or by using â€˜they/theirâ€™ pronouns. While the grammatical construction may read as unfamiliar to some, it has been adopted by many newsrooms and other organizations as a gender-inclusive option.â€