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  • Thomas Sider

Comp Sci Dept. Backs Out of Pronoun Debate, Substitutes Student Numbers for Pronouns

A shocking new move by the Department of Computer Science has given new meaning to the popular musing, “At UofT, you’re just a number.”

Heralded as a “groundbreaking solution” to the University of Toronto’s heated debate over identity politics, the department has resolved to no longer refer to students by their pronouns, instead resorting to using student numbers for identification.

The decision was not announced via University of Toronto Mail or Quercus, but instead immediately instituted in tutorials. Skeptical students were directed to grab a nametag upon arrival and write down their ten-digit student identification number along with their cumulative grade point average.

Computer science major Andrew Ridley recalled the first use of student numbers in his CSC204 tutorial: “My T.A. just leaned forward and squinted for 30 seconds trying to read my nametag from across the room.” Ridley acknowledges it may take a while for students to become accustomed to the radical change, admitting “It was kinda weird hearing, ‘Yes, that’s right, 1006768594’, but I guess I can deal with it.”

For critics, the initiative reinforces the idea that the department lacks a fundamental understanding of common language, and the humanities as a whole. “It doesn’t make any sense,” hissed Rita Jakobson, a third-year linguistics specialist and computer science minor. She continued, saying, “names and pronouns aren’t the same thing. Just ‘cause you call someone ‘1009372933’ doesn’t mean you can just stop saying ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘they’.”

Although representatives have yet to respond to the manifold criticisms, early reports suggest the department seems much more at ease referring to each other as mere numbers. Anything to do with "language, words, or really just people, frankly freaks them out", an anonymous informant inside the department told The Boundary late Sunday night.

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