Are we TOO fixated on PC language? GMB debates University of Gloucester dropping ‘freshers’ week

Good Morning Britain viewers have blasted the ‘ridiculous’ decision of a university to rename ‘freshers’ week to avoid ‘negative connotations’.  

Broadcaster Darryl Morris, 29, Bolton, and University Challenge’s Bobby Seagull, 36, London, appeared on the show with hosts Alex Beresford and Kate Garraway to discuss whether all offensive language and phrases should be banned. 

It comes after The University of Gloucestershire dropped the term ‘freshers week’ because of it’s connotations with drunkenness and close contact in the age of Covid-19 , and will instead be invited to an online ‘welcome week’. 

Viewers were not impressed with the decision, insisting we’re ‘too easily offended by language’ and saying there are ‘bigger issues in the world’.  

Broadcaster Darryl Morris, 29, Bolton,(right) and University Challenge's Bobby Seagull (midde) , 36, London, appeared on the show with host Alex Beresford  (left) to discuss whether all offensive language and phrases should be banned

Broadcaster Darryl Morris, 29, Bolton,(right) and University Challenge’s Bobby Seagull (midde) , 36, London, appeared on the show with host Alex Beresford  (left) to discuss whether all offensive language and phrases should be banned

Teacher Bobby went on to argue that rather than fixating on individual words, we should focus on the reasons certain words cause offence, and tackle the underlying issues behind them

Teacher Bobby went on to argue that rather than fixating on individual words, we should focus on the reasons certain words cause offence, and tackle the underlying issues behind them

Teacher Bobby argued that rather than fixating on individual words, we should focus on the reasons certain words cause offence, and tackle the underlying issues behind them.  

‘The way I think about it, where should we focus our energy?’, asked Bobby, ‘Tackling and banning words or looking at the underlying cause, why the words are causing offence.

‘There are clear red lines, there are words that are beyond the pail like racial slurs which are meant to demeaning or grievously offensive words to certain communities. 

‘But if you want to cut down a tree – the tree here is young people going to university and it being about drunkenness and debauchery – you’re trying to cut the branches, not the twigs.’

However viewers weren't convinced by his viewpoint, with many saying that we can be 'too offended' by language, and that there's not very much 'complexity' in the word 'freshers'

However viewers weren’t convinced by his viewpoint, with many saying that we can be ‘too offended’ by language, and that there’s not very much ‘complexity’ in the word ‘freshers’

Many viewers agreed with the viewpoint, saying that we can be ‘too offended’ by language, and that there’s not as much ‘complexity’ in the word ‘freshers’ as the university believes. 

‘Yes we are certainly becoming too offended by words’, said one. 

Another argued: ‘Don’t understand how someone can get so much complexity out of freshers. One uni I went to called it freshers, another welcome week. Most of the week didn’t appeal to me, at either uni, but I couldn’t care less what it was called.’ 

‘For goodness sake, get a grip. Everybody is offended by anything these days’, raged a third.  

Darrel felt that language is 'constantly evolving', and it does not harm to take a second look at words and ask 'what they mean in the modern world'

Darrel felt that language is ‘constantly evolving’, and it does not harm to take a second look at words and ask ‘what they mean in the modern world’

Meanwhile, Darrel felt that language is ‘constantly evolving’, and it does not harm to take a second look at words and ask ‘what they mean in the modern world’ – adding that ‘freshers’ is a great example of a word with a ‘shared meaning’.

‘Language evolves’, he said, ‘It changes and it’s right for us to constantly take a second look at language we use and ask questions about what those words mean in the modern world. 

‘Freshers is a really great example of this. This university have decided not to use the word as they don’t want their welcome week to be about booze and close contact and there’s a good example of a word having a shared meaning.’   

Host Alex, 39, admitted that while some language, for example using the term 'Half-caste' to describe someone of duel heritage, has become outdated

Host Alex, 39, admitted that while some language, for example using the term ‘Half-caste’ to describe someone of duel heritage, has become outdated

Darryl added that 'freshers' is a great example of a word with a 'shared meaning', as it has connotations with drunkenness

Darryl added that ‘freshers’ is a great example of a word with a ‘shared meaning’, as it has connotations with drunkenness 

Host Alex, 39, admitted that while some language, for example using the term ‘Half-caste’ to describe someone of duel heritage, has become outdated and is clearly unacceptable to use, words such as ‘fresher’ are more difficult to deal with.

‘When I was a kid growing up I would refer to myself as ‘half cast’, said Alex, ‘That’s what I was taught. My parents used the term, it was socially acceptable but as I got older it started to jar and I said mixed race. 

‘When it’s stuff like that it’s black and white but then things like freshers week. [It’s more unclear].  

Darryl went on to point out that words used in his youth are no longer acceptable, and called the evolution of language ‘progress and change’. 

‘Alex made a really great point earlier’, said Darrel, ‘That he used a term to describe himself that is no longer acceptable. 

‘I used to use the word ‘gay’ when I grew up in Bolton and we have come to know that using that word is no longer acceptable, and that is progress, that is change.’   

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