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What are pronouns?

Pronouns take the place of a noun (a person, place, or thing). Pronouns are used when referring to someone in the third person during a conversation or in written communication.

Example of “she” series: “April has been doing very well in adjusting to her time at Tufts. I hope she continues to support staff and faculty in her efforts to create a respectful and affirming environment for all students!”

How do pronouns affect me?

Tufts University has announced that students (on any campus) can change their names in various online Tufts systems such as the Student Information System (SIS). SIS updates class rosters which contains the names of students. When updated, class rosters include the students preferred name as well as the pronouns students are using at that particular time (yes, pronouns can change!). Tufts continues to update and monitor our systems to better reflect the identities of those who may not identify themselves as male or female.

Rosters are points of contact for many student and professor interactions. Students are more likely to come to class and stay if they feel affirmed and respected in classroom spaces.

How are pronouns being used?

In the chart below there are three examples of the most common pronouns used; she, he, and they. We are familiar with the most common pronouns (he and she) being used in the singular form; referring to only one person.

The pronoun series “they”, in this instance, is used in a similar way (in the singular form, referring to one person). Typically, “they” is an example of a gender neutral or non-binary pronoun.

Example of “they” series as a singular: “I like Jordan's work ethic, they are such a hard-working employee. It’s hard to imagine how their previous job let them go. We are so lucky to have Jordan, they will make a great addition to the team.”

  Nominative (subject) Oblique (object) Possessive Determiner Possessive Pronoun Reflexive
“She” Series She laughed. I called her. Her eyes gleam. That is hers. She likes herself.
“He” Series He laughed. I called him. His eyes gleam. This is his. He likes himself.
“They” Series They laughed. I called them. Their eyes gleam. This is theirs. They like themself/ themselves.

(This is not an exhaustive list as there are many pronouns not listed that many people use.)

Why is this important?

It is up to students, faculty, staff, community members and the administration to proactively create a culture of respect at Tufts University. This support can start in the classroom. As a Tufts University community member, it is important to foster a culture of respect by acknowledging each other’s self-identified pronouns. With commitment and effort to this initiative, respect can spread into our campus culture and climate.

Where can I go for support?

The OEO conducts trainings, workshops and facilitated discussions around pronoun usage and tools and tips for technical assistance for employees. Please contact the OEO if you would like to arrange this type of support for your work space. To report intentional misgendering or harassment, discrimination or bias against a transgender or gender non-conforming community member, please contact the OEO at 617-627-3298 and

The LGBT Center also provides workshops and technical assistance on pronoun usage for students. They have have many resources available to practice using pronouns will soon be re-releasing a “Best Practices” guide for further tips.

For more information and additional support for students, please contact:

Hope Denese Freeman
Director, LGBT Center
Center Address: 226 College Ave., Medford, MA 02155
Center Email: