Custom entries within the UB Style Guide that reflect UB’s values. Our house style takes precedence in all written communications.
This entry consists of umbrella terms for people living in the U.S. whose ethnic origin is a Spanish-speaking country and/or who are of Latin American descent. While there is overlap among these terms, they each have distinct meanings, and usage should depend to a large extent on the preferences of individuals. Please read the full entry before using any of the terms below.
Chicano/Chicana (noun/adj.) refers to Mexican Americans living in the U.S. Chicana is the feminine form. The plural Chicanos refers to groups of males or of mixed gender; Chicanas refers to groups of females.
Hispanic (noun/adj.) refers to people living in the U.S. whose ethnic origin is a Spanish-speaking country, including Spain.
Latino/Latina (noun/adj.) refers to people of Latin American descent who live in the U.S. Latin America includes Mexico, Central America, South America and certain Caribbean islands. Latina is the feminine form. The plural Latinos refers to groups of males or of mixed gender; Latinas refers to groups of females. Some use the term Latino/a (plural Latinos/as) or Latina/o (plural Latinas/os).
Afro- is a prefix used to acknowledge a subject’s African ancestry when that is the preference of the subject. It can be used together with an umbrella term (e.g., Afro-Latina, Afro-Chicanx) or in combination with a specific nationality (e.g., Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian).
Chicana/o/x, Chicanx, Latina/o/x, Latine, Latinidad, Latinx (not a complete list) are gender-neutral or gender-inclusive forms of the above. Plural forms are Chicanas/os/xs, Chicanxs, Latinas/os/xs, Latines, Latinidades, Latinxs.
All of these terms have complex and often political histories and implications, requiring an extra level of sensitivity when using them. When possible, and unless otherwise preferred by the subject, use specific terminology (e.g., Puerto Rican, Peruvian American, etc.) instead of an umbrella term. If you’re using an umbrella term, the subject’s preference should be the main driver; you should never substitute a subject’s preferred term with one that you believe is more current or politically correct.
When it is not possible to obtain a subject’s preference, there are people of multiple ethnicities within a group, and/or there is no clear subject, our preference is Latinx, because it is gaining traction as an emerging umbrella term, or Latina/o/x, because it is gender-inclusive without being gender-blind. However, another term may be more appropriate given a particular context and/or audience. We advise you to use your judgment.
Use “they/them/their” as a singular pronoun in the following cases:
In the above cases, rewording in order to avoid the singular, gender-neutral “they” (which some style guides, including the main AP Stylebook, recommend) is not only unnecessary; it fails to reflect current language trends and the increasing recognition that “he” and “she” cannot cover the full range of persons. Furthermore, the singular “they” is deeply rooted in the English language and is currently gaining widespread acceptance in everyday speech—as well as in several style guides—as the preferred pronoun for promoting inclusion and respect for all.
However, when referring to a real and named person whose gender pronouns are unknown, it is preferable to reword if possible. Until “they” is universally accepted as a singular/gender-neutral pronoun, using it in this case may invite unnecessary (or unwarranted) assumptions.
Original: Lea Goldman’s resume is impressive. I’m going to schedule an interview with them for the writing job.
Reworded: Lea Goldman’s resume is impressive. I’m going to schedule an interview with this candidate for the writing job.
In all cases, the singular, gender-neutral “they” takes a plural verb (“they are”), analogous to the use of “you are” when referring to an individual. Similarly, the reflexive form of the pronoun is “themself,” analogous to the use of “yourself” when “you” is used as a singular pronoun.
View the AP Stylebook entry on they, them, their as gender-neutral pronouns.
first-year. Use first-year to describe students in their first academic year, i.e., in their first or second semester of college.
Avoid the term freshman (pl. freshmen), as it is not gender-inclusive and does not reflect the diversity of the student population in its allusion to traditional “fresh out of high school” college students. However, if an abrupt switch will cause confusion in your communications, you may include the term in parenthesis on a transitional basis. The deadline for first-year students (freshmen) to sign up for housing is approaching.
Do not use first-year to refer to transfer students who are new to UB but in their second or subsequent academic year. Instead, use “new,” which refers to any student who is new to UB regardless of their academic year. All new students are invited to the Get To Know UB ice cream social. You can use first-year transfer student to refer to transfer students in their first year of college.
Hyphenate first-year when it precedes the noun it is modifying. A large group of first-year students showed up early for the pregame concert. Do not hyphenate when it follows the noun: A large group of students, all first year, showed up early for the pregame concert. An exception is if you are using first-year as a noun, an acceptable usage in informal contexts: A large group of students, all first-years, showed up early for the pregame concert.
Although not required, it is acceptable to use second-year, third-year, fourth-year, etc., in lieu of the traditional sophomore, junior and senior.
upper-year/upper-division/upper-level. Use upper-year, upper-division or upper-level to describe students in their second or subsequent academic year. Program leaders are upper-year students who are committed to mentoring first-year students. You may also use upper-year/upper-division/upper-level to describe students in their third or subsequent academic year, in which case you may use lower-year/lower-division/lower-level to describe first- and second-year students. These terms can also be used to describe courses. When using any of these terms, be careful to provide clarity as to the range of years included.
Avoid the following terms, as they are not gender-inclusive: upperclassmen, lowerclassmen, underclassmen. However, if an abrupt switch will cause confusion in your communications, you may include in parenthesis on a transitional basis. This seminar is for upper-division students (upperclassmen) only. Never use the following terms, as they can easily be misconstrued to indicate socioeconomic status: lowerclass students, underclass students, upperclass students.
Hyphenate each of these terms if it precedes the noun it is modifying. A large group of upper-level students showed up early for the pregame concert. Do not hyphenate when it follows the noun: A large group of students, all upper level, showed up early for the pregame concert.
Our preferred style is to avoid the courtesy title Dr. for both medical doctors and PhDs. However, you can use it in first reference if doing so could serve to counter any negative assumptions about a person’s educational qualifications, although our preference in this situation is to include the person’s degree instead. In either case, be consistent throughout the communication re: others. See academic degrees. (For guidance on other courtesy titles, see courtesy titles.)
In general, it is preferable to indicate a person’s title rather than their degree(s). For example: Fatima Khan, assistant professor of molecular biology, is a prolific researcher. (Note: The term professor on its own should be used only for a full professor.)
However, it is acceptable to indicate a person’s terminal degree following their name in direct quotes, in professional directories, in press releases, and in cases where doing so could serve to counter any negative assumptions about a person’s educational qualifications. Whenever a decision is made to use degree information for one individual, be consistent throughout the communication re: others.
Abbreviations are preferred when referencing degrees. Use abbreviations only after a full name—never after just a last name—and do not use punctuation: BS, EdM, MBA, PhD. Use only in first reference, and set the degree off by commas: John Snow, PhD, spoke. Do not use both a courtesy title before a name and an academic degree after the name in the same reference.
References to a person’s degree are also acceptable when pertinent to a story line in an article or profile. In this case, it is preferable to write out the degree after the name and include the person’s specialty. Candace Kim, who holds a doctorate in behavioral sciences, led the study. (Note: In this case, it is not necessary to be consistent re: others mentioned in the article). Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, a master’s, etc., but not in associate degree and never in the formal degree name; it’s Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, etc.
The rule for alumni publications is to include only UB degrees, always as abbreviations, in combination with the year received. For example: Valentina Hernández (BA ’93) recently published a book. In instances where alumni have two UB degrees, use a comma to separate the degrees. In instances where alumni have three or more UB degrees, use commas to separate the first two degrees and an ampersand to separate the second-last and last degree. List degrees in chronological or reverse chronological order, staying consistent within a publication: Valentina Hernández (BA ’93, MSW ’00 & PhD ’03) recently published a book; or Valentina Hernández (PhD ’03, MSW ’00 & BA ’93) recently published a book. In all cases, the degree precedes the year it was awarded.
Use community engagement to describe UB’s partnership with local communities to enrich the student experience and to contribute to stronger and healthier communities across Western New York. Unlike the term community relations, which should be avoided, community engagement implies that we are equal partners in the work of lifting up our communities and attaining equity and social justice across the region.