» Chapman University Communications Style Guide

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Chapman University uses Associated Press style — referred to as AP style — in its publications, including Chapman Magazine and Chapman Forward (research magazine), the university’s Newsroom and blogs, as well as its press releases and other media communications.

AP style is the preferred set of grammar and usage guidelines for journalists and most news outlets. It places a premium on clarity, consistency and simplicity. Plus, when we provide our content to external publications using AP style, we make the news outlet’s job easier and reduce the time needed to edit for external use.

Chapman detours from AP style occasionally, predominantly to align with institutional style or strategy. The following sections cover most of Chapman’s unique usage, as well as some quick explainers if you’re new to AP style.

Generally, though, the digital AP Stylebook will be the best reference. In addition to clear explanations of AP style from the guidebook’s editors, the editing team within SMC also curates custom entries specific to Chapman needs.

We suggest that you purchase an AP Stylebook for your office. AP publishes an updated  spiral-bound stylebook each spring. Digital subscriptions are also offered and include the updated guide, ongoing updates and an Ask the Editor bonus feature.



academic degrees. Depending on usage, academic degrees may be spelled out or, when following a name, abbreviated. Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, etc. Capitalize degrees when using the full Master of Arts, Bachelor of Science, etc. But lowercase for standalone references: He earned a master’s in creative writing. Other examples: She has her Master of Arts degree in biochemistry. He has a doctorate in American literature.

After a name, abbreviate degrees using uppercase letters without periods: BA, BS, MA, MS, JD. Use periods for these doctoral degrees: Ph.D., Ed.D., Pharm.D. When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas. Example: John Snow, Ph.D., spoke at the conference.

Only use Dr. as a title before a name if the person is a medical doctor, doctor of dental surgery, doctor of optometry, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of podiatric medicine or doctor of veterinary medicine. 

Honorary degrees: All references to honorary degrees should specify that the degree was honorary.

academic departments. Capitalize the names of academic departments, offices, programs and schools when the formal name is used. Lowercase when the reference is generic. Use the formal name on first reference. Examples: The club is sponsored by the Department of History. Chapman has a highly respected history department. 

academic titles. Capitalize a formal title/job description when it comes before an individual’s name; lowercase the title when it follows the name. Example: Chapman President Daniele C. Struppa will address the Faculty Senate. Jerry Price, vice president and dean of students, met with the committee.

acronyms/initials. Spell out the full name of a school or college on first reference. Only the College of Performing Arts (CoPA) allows use of an acronym on subsequent references and in headlines.  

alumni. Individuals are considered alumna/alumnus if they graduated from Chapman University. Brandman University graduates, while they may be strongly affiliated, are not considered Chapman alumni. If an individual attended Chapman and completed 28 credits or more, they are considered "non-degree alumni."  

Note the different forms, depending on gender and quantity:

  • alumna/alumnae: An individual female who has graduated from or attended the university as a student is an alumna. A group of two or more women is referenced as alumnae.
  • alumnus: An individual male who has graduated from or attended the university as a student is an alumnus. Also, use alumnus when making a general reference to someone who may be either male or female. Example: An alumnus of Chapman University will receive Chapman Magazine after graduation.
  • alumni: This is a plural term that refers to a group of two or more who have graduated from or attended the university. The group may consist of all males or males and females. Do not use alumnus/a or alumni/ae. An indeterminate group of alumni is always alumni not alumni/ae.
  • alum or alums are slang terms acceptable ONLY in a quote. In regular text, always use the complete term.

When we refer to a Chapman alumna/us, the year the person earned an undergraduate degree follows the name, without a comma. If the person has also earned a graduate degree, that degree follows in parentheses. Example: Maria Rincon ‘08 (MBA ‘12) has launched a startup company. If the person has multiple graduate degrees and/or honorary degrees, place those degrees inside one set of parentheses, with commas in between. Example: Fred Flintstone ’10 (MA ’12, Ph.D. ’17, Hon. ’20) won the Pulitzer Prize on Thursday.

ampersand (&). Do not use in text copy unless it is part of the formal name, such as with Town & Gown, or the formal name of a firm or corporation. "&" is acceptable as a design element. 

a.m./p.m. Use lowercase a.m. and p.m. Do not use twice in the same grouping. Correct: 7-8 p.m. Incorrect: 7 p.m.-8 p.m. There is no need to add the colon and zeros when referencing a time that is on the hour. Correct: The event begins at 7 p.m. Incorrect: The event begins at 7:00 p.m. Use PDT or PST after a clock time only if the information involves travel or other activities likely to affect people in more than one time zone. PDT and PST are acceptable abbreviations on first reference for Pacific Daylight Time or Pacific Standard Time if the abbreviation is linked with a clock reading: noon PDT, 9 a.m. PST. 

Argyros School of Business and Economics, first reference. Argyros School is acceptable on second reference and in headlines.

Attallah College of Educational Studies, first reference. Attallah College is acceptable on second reference and in headlines.


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building names. To ensure the accuracy of building names that honor donors, refer to the Facilities Directory.

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chair, endowed. Capitalize chair when it is part of a formal endowed title. Ex: Jack Cho held the Jerrold A. Glass Endowed Chair in Accounting and Economics at Chapman University. See also named chair.

Chapman University. Spell out on first reference. Chapman is acceptable on second reference and in headlines. Do not capitalize "university" when the word is used by itself, even when it refers to Chapman University. See also, university.

cisgender. Describes people whose gender identity matches the one they were assigned at birth; that is, not transgender. Explain if necessary. Do not use terms like normal to describe people who are not transgender. Not synonymous with heterosexual, which refers to sexual orientation.

class year. Include a class year on first reference whenever alumni are mentioned. Make sure the apostrophe is facing the correct way. Example: Students listened to Abe Chapman ’98 and Bea Chapman ’99 (MA ’02). Couples: Dee Chapman ’02 (MA ’06) and Effie Chapman ’98. For current students, use the student’s projected graduation year. 

College of Performing Arts, first reference. CoPA is acceptable for second reference.

commas. Per AP style, Chapman does not use the Oxford/serial comma. However, an exception is allowed on pieces written for a predominantly academic audience. Be consistent with comma usage throughout the piece.

coronaviruses. A family of viruses, some of which cause disease in people and animals, named for crownlike spikes on their surfaces. Referring to COVID-19 simply as the coronavirus is acceptable on first reference. While the phrasing incorrectly implies there is only one coronavirus, it is clear in this context. Passages and stories focusing on the science of the disease require sharper distinctions.

course titles. Place the formal names of academic courses in quotes and uppercase important words. Use lowercase to describe types of courses within a major, school or department. Example: Zheung teaches “Trademarks and Unfair Business Practices.” Brown teaches business law courses.

COVID-19. Stands for coronavirus disease 2019. COVID-19 is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. When referring specifically to the virus, the COVID-19 virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 are acceptable. Science professors and/or researchers may refer to the virus SARS-CoV-2 in quotes or first-person pieces. Paraphrase or add additional context only when such a reference would cause confusion. Because COVID-19 is the name of the disease, not the virus, it is not accurate to write a new virus called COVID-19. Also incorrect are usages such as: COVID-19 spreads through the air; scientists are investigating how long COVID-19 may remain on surfaces; she worries about catching COVID-19. In each of those, it should be the coronavirus, not COVID-19. Do not shorten to COVID, even in headlines, unless part of a quotation or proper name. Do not refer simply to coronavirus without the article "the." For example, this is incorrect: she is concerned about coronavirus. Omitting “the” is acceptable in headlines and when “coronavirus” is used as a descriptor, such as: He said coronavirus concerns are increasing. 

Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, first reference. Crean College is acceptable on second reference and in headlines.


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Fowler School of Law, first reference. Fowler Law is acceptable on second reference and in headlines.

Daniele C. Struppa. Include middle initial on first reference. See also, president.

diverse/diversity. When used in discussions of race, ethnicity and social issues, both terms refer to groups, not individuals. See also, gender and race and ethnicities.

Dr. Use this title only if the person is a medical doctor, doctor of dental surgery, doctor of optometry, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of podiatric medicine or doctor of veterinary medicine. 

Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, first reference. Dodge College is acceptable on second reference and in headlines.


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Economic Science Institute. Science is singular. When preceded with “the,” the is lowercase. Example: Smith founded the Economic Science Institute in 2007.

endowed chair. See chair, endowed.

Escalette Collection, second reference. Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art, first reference. It is sometimes referenced as “the museum without walls.” The collection is displayed throughout campus. The program operates within Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.


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facilities. Generally, spell out the entire name on first reference. Refer to Facilities Directory to verify.

faculty. It is a singular noun and should always be lowercase. Example: The faculty is especially busy in September. Faculty members are less busy in July. Exception is made when faculty is part of a name. Example: The Faculty Senate met on Tuesday.

Fish Interfaith Center, first reference. Fish Interfaith or Interfaith Center are acceptable on second reference. Refer to Facilities Directory for full first-reference naming protocol. 

fundraiser/fundraising. One word -- no hyphen. 

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gender. It is not synonymous with sex. Gender refers to a person’s social identity, while sex refers to biological characteristics. Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender, so avoid references to both, either or opposite sexes or genders as a way to encompass all people. When needed for clarity in describing scientific studies, alternatives include men and women, boys and girls, males and females. Language regarding gender is evolving. Make decisions that balance clarity of expression with respect for a person’s wishes, regarding terms that differ from or are not covered by AP’s specific recommendations. For instance, AP recommends the terms sex reassignment or gender confirmation for the medical procedures used for gender transition, while some groups use other terms, such as gender affirmation or sex realignment.

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housing. The terms dormitories and dorms are never used to describe student housing at Chapman. Student housing is an acceptable generic term. The preferred term is residence halls. Check the Facilities Directory when referencing specific buildings.

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LGBT, LGBTQ (adj.). Acceptable in all references for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and/or queer. In quotations and the formal names of organizations and events, other forms such as LGBTQIA and other variations are also acceptable with the other letters explained. “I” generally stands for intersex, and “A” can stand for asexual (a person who doesn't experience sexual attraction), ally (some activists decry this use of the abbreviation for a person who is not LGBT but who actively supports LGBT communities) or both. Use of LGBT or LGBTQ is best as an adjective and an umbrella term. Don't use it, for instance, when the group you're referring to is limited to bisexuals. Walters joined the LGBTQ business association. Queer is an umbrella term covering people who are not heterosexual or cisgender and is acceptable for people and organizations that use the term to identify themselves.

For additional guidance, consult the GLAAD Media Reference Guide.

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mission. Chapman’s mission statement: The mission of Chapman University is to provide personalized education of distinction that leads to inquiring, ethical and productive lives as global citizens.

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named chairs. See chair, endowed.

names. Use first and last name on first reference, last name only on second reference. If multiple people have the same last name, both names may be required on second reference. 

newspaper/periodical titles. Capitalize but don’t italicize newspaper and periodical titles. Capitalize “the” only if it is the beginning of the actual title. 

numerals. In general, spell out one through nine: The Yankees finished second. He had nine months to go.

Use figures for 10 or above and whenever preceding a unit of measure or referring to ages of people, animals, events or things. Also in all tabular matter, and in statistical and sequential forms.

Use figures for:

  • ACADEMIC COURSE NUMBERS: History 6, Philosophy 209.
  • ADDRESSES: 210 Main St. Spell out numbered streets nine and under: 5 Sixth Ave.; 3012 50th St.; No. 10 Downing St. Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St. only with a numbered address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Spell them out and capitalize without a 
  • AGES: A 6-year-old girl; an 8-year-old law; the 7-year-old house. Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun. A 5-year-old boy, but the boy is 5 years old. The boy, 5, has a sister, 10. The race is for 3-year-olds. The woman is in her 30s. 30-something, but Thirty-something to start a sentence.
  • CENTURIES: Use figures for numbers 10 or higher: 21st century. Spell out for numbers nine and lower: fifth century. (Note lowercase.) For proper names, follow the organization's usage.
  • COURT DECISIONS: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4, a 5-4 decision. The word to is not needed, except in quotations: "The court ruled 5 to 4."
  • Court districts: 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • DATES, YEARS AND DECADES: Feb. 8, 2007, Class of '66, the 1950s. For the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 9/11 is acceptable in all references. (Note comma to set off the year when the phrase refers to a month, date and year.)
  • DECIMALS, PERCENTAGES AND FRACTIONS WITH NUMBERS LARGER THAN 1: 7.2 magnitude quake, 3 1/2 laps, 3.7% interest, 4 percentage points. Decimalization should not exceed two places in most text material. Exceptions: blood alcohol content, expressed in three decimals: as in 0.056, and batting averages in baseball, as in .324. For amounts less than 1, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.03%. Spell out fractions less than 1, using hyphens between the words: two-thirds, four-fifths. In quotations, use figures for fractions: "He was 2 1/2 laps behind with four to go."
  • DIMENSIONS, TO INDICATE DEPTH, HEIGHT, LENGTH AND WIDTH: He is 5 feet, 6 inches tall, the 5-foot-6 man ("inch" is understood), the 5-foot man, the basketball team signed a 7-footer. The car is 17 feet long, 6 feet wide and 5 feet high. The rug is 9 feet by 12 feet, the 9-by-12 rug. A 9-inch snowfall. Exception: two-by-four. Spell out the noun, which refers to any length of untrimmed lumber approximately 2 inches thick by 4 inches wide.
  • DISTANCES: He walked 4 miles. He missed a 3-foot putt.
  • HIGHWAY DESIGNATIONS: Interstate 5, U.S. Highway 1, state Route 1A. (Do not abbreviate Route. No hyphen between highway designation and number.)
  • MATHEMATICAL USAGE: Multiply by 4, divide by 6. He added 2 and 2 but got 5.
  • MILITARY RANKS, USED AS TITLES WITH NAMES, MILITARY TERMS AND WEAPONS: Petty Officer 2nd Class Alan Markow, Spc. Alice Moreno, 1st Sgt. David Triplett, M16 rifle, 9 mm (note space) pistol, 6th Fleet. In military ranks, spell out the figure when it is used after the name or without a name: Smith was a second lieutenant. The goal is to make first sergeant.
  • MILLIONS, BILLIONS, TRILLIONS: Use a figure-word combination. 1 million people; $2 billion, NOT one million/two billion. (Also note no hyphen linking numerals and the word million, billion or trillion.)
  • MONETARY UNITS: 5 cents, $5 bill, 8 euros, 4 pounds.
  • ODDS, PROPORTIONS AND RATIOS: 9-1 long shot; 3 parts cement to 1 part water; a 1-4 chance; 1 chance in 3.
  • RANK: He was my No. 1 choice. (Note abbreviation for "Number"). Kentucky was ranked No. 3. The band had five Top 40 hits.
  • SCHOOL GRADES: Use figures for grades 10 and above: 10th grade. Spell out for first through ninth grades: fourth grade, fifth grader.
  • SEQUENTIAL DESIGNATIONS: Page 1, page 20A. They were out of sizes 4 and 5; magnitude 6 earthquake; rooms 3 and 4; Chapter 2; line 1 but first line; Act 3, Scene 4, but third act, fourth scene; Game 1, but best of seven.
  • POLITICAL DISTRICTS: Ward 9, 9th Precinct, 3rd Congressional District.
  • SPEEDS: 7 mph, winds of 5 to 10 mph, winds of 7 to 9 knots.
  • SPORTS SCORES, STANDINGS AND STANDARDS: The Dodgers defeated the Phillies 10-3 (No comma between the team and the score); in golf, 3 up, but a 3-up lead; led 3-2; a 6-1-2 record (six wins, one loss, two ties); par 3; 5 handicap, 5-under-par 67 but he was 5 under par (or 5 under, with "par" understood). In narrative, spell out nine and under except for yard lines in football and individual and team statistical performances: The ball was on the 5-yard line. Seventh hole. In basketball, 3-point play and 3-point shot. In statistical performances, hyphenate as a modifier: He completed 8 of 12 passes. He made 5 of 6 (shots is understood). He was 5-for-12 passing. He had a 3-for-5 day. He was 3-for-5. He went 3-for-5 (batting, shooting, etc., is understood).
  • TEMPERATURES: Use figures, except zero. It was 8 degrees below zero or minus 8. 
  • TIMES: Use figures for time of day except for noon and midnight: 1 p.m.; 10:30 a.m.; 5 o'clock; 8 hours, 30 minutes, 20 seconds; a winning time of 2:17:3 (2 hours, 17 minutes, 3 seconds). Spell out numbers less than 10 standing alone and in modifiers: I'll be there in five minutes. He scored with two seconds left. An eight-hour day. The two-minute warning.
  • VOTES: The bill was defeated by a vote of 6-4, but by a two-vote margin.

Spell out:

  • AT THE START OF A SENTENCE: In general, spell out numbers at the start of a sentence: Forty years was a long time to wait. Fifteen to 20 cars were involved in the accident. An exception is years: 1992 was a very good year. Another exception: Numeral(s) and letter(s) combinations: 401(k) plans are offered. 4K TVs are flying off the shelves. 3D movies are drawing more fans.
  • IN INDEFINITE AND CASUAL USES: Thanks a million. He walked a quarter of a mile. One at a time; a thousand clowns; one day we will know; an eleventh-hour decision; dollar store; a hundred dollars.
  • IN FANCIFUL USAGE OR PROPER NAMES: Chicago Seven, Fab Four, Final Four, the Four Tops.
  • IN FORMAL LANGUAGE, RHETORICAL QUOTATIONS AND FIGURES OF SPEECH: "Fourscore and seven years ago ..." Twelve Apostles, Ten Commandments, high-five, Day One.

IN FRACTIONS LESS THAN ONE THAT ARE NOT USED AS MODIFIERS: reduced by one-third, he made three-fourths of his shots.


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Orange Campus. Use this and not Main Campus when it’s necessary to distinguish from the Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine.

over vs. more than. More than is used when describing quantity. For fundraising purposes, you’ll be using more than, as in: American Celebration raised more than $2 million, not: American Celebration raised over $2 million. Over is used only when describing a physical location: The sword hung over her head.


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Parents Leadership Society. There is no apostrophe in Parents

Panther, The. Chapman’s student-run newspaper. The is capitalized because it is part of the newspaper’s official name. Don’t use italics or quote marks for this or any other newspaper name. 

percent. AP style calls for use of the % sign in all but casual uses. Examples: Spending rose 30% in the third quarter. He has a zero percent chance of being elected.

personal pronouns. Refer to subjects using the pronouns they prefer. To mitigate possible confusion for readers, avoid gender-specific terms (he/she or his/her) by using plural pronouns (they or their) and plural verbs where possible. Examples: The children brought their snacks from home. Rather than: Each child brought their snack from home. Or rather than: Each child brought his or her snack from home.

Ph.D. Mention of a doctoral degree is not mandatory after the name of someone who has one, but you should be consistent with usage if the information includes more than one person who has earned a Ph.D. If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone’s credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: John Jones has a doctorate in psychology.

president. When used as a title before the president’s name, it’s capitalized: President Daniele C. Struppa. Use lowercase without the name or after the name: The president will be here at noon. The show was attended by Daniele C. Struppa, president of Chapman University.

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race and ethnicities. Writing about issues involving race calls for thoughtful consideration, precise language, and discussions with others of diverse backgrounds whenever possible about how to frame coverage or what language is most appropriate, accurate and fair. 

Avoid broad generalizations and labels; race and ethnicity are one part of a person’s identity. Identifying people by race and reporting on actions that have to do with race often go beyond simple style questions, challenging journalists to think broadly about racial issues before having to make decisions on specific situations and stories.

In all communication, strive to accurately represent the world, or a particular community, and its diversity through the people you quote and depict in all formats. Omissions and lack of inclusion can render people invisible.

Some guidelines:

  • RACE: Consider carefully when deciding whether to identify people by race. Often, it is an irrelevant factor and drawing unnecessary attention to someone’s race or ethnicity can be interpreted as bigotry. There are, however, occasions when race is pertinent: in referencing significant, groundbreaking or historic events, such as being named to the U.S. Supreme Court or other notable occurrences. Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Jeremy Lin is the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.
  • BLACK(S), WHITE(S) (n.): Do not use either term as a singular noun. For plurals, phrasing such as Black people, white people, Black teachers, white students is often preferable when clearly relevant. White officers account for 64% of the police force, Black officers 21% and Latino officers 15%. The gunman targeted Black churchgoers. The plural nouns Blacks and whites are generally acceptable when clearly relevant and needed for reasons of space or sentence construction. He helped integrate dance halls among Blacks, whites, Latinos and Asian Americans. Black and white are acceptable as adjectives when relevant.
  • BLACK (adj.): Use of the capitalized Black recognizes that language has evolved, along with the common understanding that especially in the United States, the term reflects a shared identity and culture rather than a skin color alone. Use the capitalized term as an adjective in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense: Black people, Black culture, Black literature, Black studies, Black colleges. 
  • AFRICAN AMERICAN: No hyphen. Acceptable for an American Black person of African descent. The terms are not necessarily interchangeable. Americans of Caribbean heritage, for example, generally refer to themselves as Caribbean American. Follow a person’s preference.
  • ASIAN AMERICAN: No hyphen. Acceptable for an American of Asian descent. When possible, refer to a person’s country of origin or follow the person’s preference. For example: Filipino American or Indian American.
  • PEOPLE OF COLOR: The term is acceptable when necessary in broad references to multiple races other than white: We will hire more people of color. Nine playwrights of color collaborated on the script. 
    • Be aware, however, that many people of various races object to the term for various reasons, including that it lumps together into one monolithic group anyone who isn’t white. 
    • Be specific whenever possible by referring to, for instance, Black Americans, Chinese Americans or members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Examples: The poll found that Black and Latino Americans are bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s financial impact, not people of color are bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s financial impact. Most of the magazine’s readers are Black women, not most of the magazine’s readers are women of color.
    • In some cases, other wording may be appropriate. Examples: people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds; diverse groups; various heritages; different cultures.
    • Do not use the term person of color for an individual.
    • Do not use the term Black, Indigenous and people of color, which some see as more inclusive by distinguishing the experiences of Black and Indigenous people but others see as less inclusive by diminishing the experiences of everyone else. Similarly, do not use the term Black, Asian and minority ethnic.
    • Do not use the shorthand POC, BIPOC or BAME unless necessary in a direct quotation; when used, explain it.
  • SLAVES, ENSLAVED PEOPLE: The term slaves denotes an inherent identity of a person or people treated as chattel or property. The term enslaved people underlines that the slave status has been imposed on individuals. Many prefer the term enslaved person/people to separate people’s identity from their circumstances. Others prefer the term slave as a way to make a point of the circumstances. Either term is acceptable. Try to determine an individual’s preference. 
  • LATINO, LATINA, LATINX: Latino is often the preferred noun or adjective for a person from, or whose ancestors were from, a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. Latina is the feminine form. Some prefer the recently coined gender-neutral term Latinx, which should be confined to quotations, names of organizations or descriptions of individuals who request it and should be accompanied by a short explanation. Example: Hernandez prefers the gender-neutral term Latinx. For groups of females, use the plural Latinas; for groups of males or of mixed gender, use the plural Latinos. Hispanics is also generally acceptable for those in the U.S. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian or Mexican American.
  • HISPANIC: A person from — or whose ancestors were from — a Spanish-speaking land or culture. Latino, Latina or Latinx are sometimes preferred. Follow the person’s preference. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican or Mexican American.
  • AMERICAN INDIANS, NATIVE AMERICANS: Both are acceptable terms in general references for those in the U.S. when referring to two or more people of different tribal affiliations. 
    • For individuals, use the name of the tribe; if that information is not immediately available, try to obtain it. He is a Navajo commissioner. She is a member of the Nisqually Indian Tribe. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. 
    • Some tribes and tribal nations use member; others use citizen. If in doubt, use citizen. Avoid words such as wampum, warpath, powwow, teepee, brave, squaw, etc., which can be disparaging and offensive. In Alaska, the Indigenous groups are collectively known as Alaska Natives.
    • First Nation is the preferred term for native tribes in Canada.
    • Indian is used to describe the peoples and cultures of the South Asian nation of India. Do not use the term as a shorthand for American Indians.
  • TRIBE: Refers to a sovereign political entity, communities sharing a common ancestry, culture or language, and a social group of linked families who may be part of an ethnic group. Capitalize the word tribe when part of a formal name of sovereign political entities, or communities sharing a common ancestry, culture or language. Identify tribes by the political identity specified by the tribe, nation or community: the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation. The term ethnic group is preferred when referring to ethnicity or ethnic violence.

INDIGENOUS (adj.): Capitalize this term used to refer to original inhabitants of a place. Aboriginal leaders welcomed a new era of Indigenous relations in Australia. Bolivia’s Indigenous peoples represent some 62% of the population.

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schools and colleges. Refer to the Facilities Directory.

seasons. Do not capitalize spring, summer, fall or winter unless it is the first word of a sentence or part of a formal name or title. Example: The book was published in fall 2008. The theatre students performed at the Spring Promenade. She competed in the Olympic Winter Games.

semester. Do not capitalize fall semester or spring semester. Whenever possible, opt for brevity. Example: She enrolled in fall 2020. This is preferred over: She enrolled in the fall semester of 2020.  

staff. Lowercase and singular. The staff is, NOT the staff are

states. Spell out the names of U.S. states, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village or military base. Place a comma between the city and the state name, and another comma after the state name, unless ending a sentence: He was traveling from Nashville, Tennessee, to Austin, Texas, en route to his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


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3D. No hyphen.

time. When time is on the hour, do not use a colon and zeroes: 9 a.m., not 9:00 a.m. See also, a.m./p.m.

theatre/theater. The preferred spelling at Chapman is theatre. This is to be consistent with most usages at Chapman, including the Department of Theatre. Note that certain schools and departments use the spelling “theater” in proper names: Folino Theater is in Marion Knott Studios. When in doubt, refer to the Facilities Directory.

titles. Use quotation marks for composition titles -- books, movies, plays, poems, albums, songs, operas, radio and television programs, lectures, speeches and works of art. 

job titles should be capitalized and spelled out when used in front of the person’s name Professor John Hall. Lowercase when the title follows the name: “Love is blind,” said John Hall, professor of law at Chapman.


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United States. When used as a proper noun, spell it out and capitalize. United States is sufficient vs. the United States of America. It’s OK to abbreviate when used as an adjective: the U.S. economy." 

university. Don’t capitalize when it stands alone, even if the reference is to Chapman University: The mission of the university is …


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webcam, webcast, webpage, webfeed, the web. When writing a Chapman webpage url, write it with chapman.edu first. Example: chapman.edu/tickets, not http://chapman.edu.tickets.com. You can request a formatted shortcut url through this form. Subdomains are prohibited unless approved by Strategic Marketing and Communications or IS&T. Example: inside.chapman.edu or events.chapman.edu. 

The Women of Chapman. Refers to the support group formerly known as The Fashionables and later as The Fashionable Women of Chapman.


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AP Stylebook Updates

For current information and recent changes/additions to the AP Stylebook, visit: