Trinity College to drop ‘freshman’ term over inclusivity concerns

University makes ‘small but important change’ to refer to first years as ‘fresh’ students

Students in Trinity College Dublin during the first week of term last year. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Trinity College Dublin will now refer to freshman students as junior and senior “fresh” students in order to be inclusive to all gender identities.

In an email to staff and students, Vice-Provost of TCD Chris Morash said the decision was a small but important change that would “ensure that all Trinity students are equally included by the language used to describe them, be they male, female or of another gender identity”.

Prof Morash said it was a concrete expression of the university’s commitment to gender equality, as set out in the college’s diversion and inclusion strategy.

He referred to the fact that 2018 would mark 100 years of women’s suffrage in Ireland.


“It is timely to reflect on changes in our student body since ‘freshman’ first came into use, and to ensure those changes are reflected in the name we give them,” he said.

The changes will be made to all literature to reflect this new practice following a three-year implemetation process.

“To achieve this on a cost-neutral basis with minimal disruption, a three-year implementation period is in place, so that uses of the term ‘freshman’ can be updated as part of routine document reviews,” he said.