University of Missouri (Mizzou) is now reportedly planning to add terms pertaining to Hinduism in its “inclusive terminology” guide for “learning about inclusive language”, after Hindus felt ignored and protested.
Noor Azizan-Gardner, Assistant Deputy Chancellor for Diversity at Mizzou, in an email to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed on June 24, wrote: We have temporarily removed the inclusive terminology page from our website until we complete the revisions. In addition to conducting a complete review of the terms listed, my staff have reached out to our local Hindu temple (http://shanthimandir.missouri.org/) for recommendations.
“Faith and Religion” section of this guide, when it was available on Mizzou website, defined some Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Atheist and Agnostic terms, but failed to mention any terms related to Hinduism.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, and who spearheaded the protest, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked Mizzou for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which earlier felt excluded, and making efforts to add Hinduism terms in the “inclusive terminology” guide.
Rajan Zed, in an email on June 22 night to Mizzou Interim Chancellor Dr. Hank Foley and Provost Dr. Garnett S. Stokes, urged them to issue an official apology and create an “honestly inclusive” “inclusive terminology” guide.
Zed had said that it seemed that Mizzou itself needed few lessons in diversity and inclusivity before it embarked upon talking about “productive dialogue about diversity and inclusion” and launching an “inclusive terminology” guide.
Rajan Zed had wondered how Mizzou simply ignored Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents (including about three million in USA). Moreover, Mizzou had considerable number of Hindu students and staff which would be directly affected by its policies, actions and misadventures.
On the one hand Mizzou claimed: “Inclusive language furthers social and cultural diversity in a positive way”; while on the other hand it just ignored a considerable chunk of the population which it was trying to address. It simply cast doubt at the seriousness and sincerity of Mizzou regarding its claims of and commitment to “inclusivity”, Zed had noted.
Founded in 1839, Mizzou in Columbia, which claims to be a “world-class research university”, is a $2.2 billion enterprise.