Language Statement

Who We Are

The Writing Center at MSU operates with a broad vision of collaboration in the MSU community; peer-to-peer consultations with students, faculty, and the community allow us to expand ideas of literacy and composing beyond traditional models and geographic boundaries.

Our Commitments

  • We meet writers wherever they are in their writing and work with them, as they discover how best to use their writing voices.
  • We respect writers’  agency to express themselves in ways most comfortable to them, including their choice of Englishes, languages, pronouns, stories, and perspectives.
  • We challenge the notion of standard English as the only correct expressive form, rather we recognize and value a number of Englishes.
  • We address writers’ concerns surrounding style, grammar, and other writing-related policies and support them in advocating for their language practices.

Our Challenge

Academic spaces often prescribe specific grammar rules and writing structures, enforcing standard English as the only legitimate language. In so doing, the academy silences othered voices and diminishes diversity within our campus.

Since Standard English is the norm in academic writing, we often serve writers concerned with “fixing” their grammar. Committed to working with writers to develop multiple literacies, promoting diverse understandings of writing, and supporting multidisciplinary methods of thinking, this language statement serves as a valuable addition to our writing center.

It is a choice to accept the standardized linguistic culture at the expense of writers who use variations of English or other languages. Instead, we take a position honoring the decades of advocacy done by others for greater language inclusivity*. Thus, we affirm and support writers’ choices of languages, pronouns, English(es), stories, and perspectives.

Intentions and Desired Impact

In creating, publishing, and implementing this statement, we hope to:

  • Inform students, faculty, and staff at MSU, so that together, we may create a space where  writers may use their authentic voices; and
  • Encourage the larger academic community to adopt similar statements and language-inclusive practices.
*Please see our References for Further Reading list. To contribute to this growing list, please contact writing@msu.edu.