The University of Cape Town says it has made provision for current and prospective students to choose their own honorific titles on its academic systems.
The move is aimed at broadening inclusivity through gender-neutral titles.
In a statement, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng says UCT recognizes its role in building a culture of inclusion and acceptance.
She said the institution recently adopted the so-called Inclusivity Policy for Sexual Orientation. The policy sets out guidelines to inform and educate UCT staff and students about making appropriate choices on the use of terminology in teaching practice, communication, health care, and administrative services.
The Chairperson of Rainbow UCT, Viwe Tafeni says one of the aims of the policy is to show that heterosexual and same-sex partnerships are considered equal.
“Other institutions have policies that deal with discrimination. However, these are very broad and ill-fitting for certainly protected identities. The purpose of the policy is to ensure that UCT’s institutional response reflects the principles enshrined in the constitution which state that everyone is equal before the law and prohibits unfair discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, and sexual orientation.”
Phakeng says UCT is committed to promoting diversity, regardless of an individual’s self-identified sexual orientation.