What is ‘Alumnx’? One of higher ed’s newest social justice terms, explained

By Jezzamine Wolk | Campus Reform

A new gender-neutral term has been floating around college campuses. That term is “alumnx.”

In late 2019, Rutgers University, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Michigan, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts, to name a few, began using the term on their official school websites. Just like the label “Latinx,”where the “x” replaces the “o” or “a,” the goal of the “x” in “alumnx” is to eliminate any gendered language.

“Alumni” is already the “plural noun for a group of male graduates or male and female graduates,”  according to Grammarly, meaning that it is not gendered to begin with.

Wikimedia Commons/AlexiusHoratius

University of Vermont

This month, “alumnx” at the University of Vermont wrote an open letter to the administration asking it to make adjustments to “help the university move closer to engaging in a more inclusive campus” due to the current political climate. Some of their requests include divesting from the Burlington Police department within three years and removing figures and building names that “reinforce white supremacy.”

Meanwhile, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the school has a section dedicated to helping “alumnx” and other members of the community who have undergone a “name change and/or gender affirmation” to update their information in the school database.

The California Institute of the Arts even used the term in its official contact email for the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement.

Various other schools continue to use it on their websites, whether it be a section dedicated to news and resources for past graduates at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, benefits and opportunities to engage at Drew University in New Jersey, or a specific “LGBTQ+ Alumnx Network” at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

Campus Reform reached out to each college mentioned in this article but did not hear back in time for publication.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/© Jared C. Benedict/CC BY-SA 2.0 and Wikimedia Commons/AlexiusHoratius
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4 thoughts on “What is ‘Alumnx’? One of higher ed’s newest social justice terms, explained

  1. And I thought I was confused, it seems this ” gender-neutral ” crowd is having a real hard
    hard time to find something that they can all agree on…. really, they are confused in more
    ways then even they can count………pretty pathetic.

    Then you have these universities, trying to cover all the bases, to keep the money coming
    in, they could care less……….$$$$.

  2. The word “Alumni” is just fine. Grammatically correct and inclusive. The word Alumnx seems alienating and ignorant to tradition to me as a UVM and USC alumnus. Alumnae is also grammatically correct to single out a female alumnus. Our language already covered.

  3. Since neither ‘alumnus’ nor ‘alumna’ indicate that an individual graduated, perhaps we could just use ‘graduate’ or ‘attendee’ and dispense with the rest of the feel-good nonsense.

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