Oxford University has an official policy advocating the elimination of the titles Mr and Mrs, it has been revealed.
The ancient institution – which was last week swept up in a controversy over its attitude to the “neo-pronoun” ze – wants to remove the traditional forms of address from everyday use.
The policy – created by its Equality and Diversity Unit – argues for a purge of all mention of gender-specific titles from university websites and printed material.
It came in a 2013 report – University of Oxford Transgender Guidance – which is available online.
The relevant section states: “The Equality and Diversity Unit suggests that departments and colleges remove all gender-specific titles from websites and print information, retaining only academic titles such as Dr, Prof.”
“In the meantime individuals should be given the option of appearing without a title.”
It also draws attention to the inability of Oxford’s systems to record “constructed” titles like ze – adding the examples “zie” and “ey” – though stops short of recommending any changes.
Although the policy has been in effect for several years, it has not been universally adopted.
A survey by Heat Street shows that some departments and colleges have carried out the purge, while some stick to the old forms of address.
For example, St Hugh’s College, the alma mater of Prime Minister Theresa May, has done away with Mr and Mrs.
Their list of academic staff lists anybody who doesn’t have a doctorate or professorship by only their names, omitting titles like Mr and Mrs.
By contrast the staff list for Brasenose College, which educated David Cameron, begins with “Mr John Bowers QC”, the current college principal.