In an attempt to meet the changing needs of its students, faculty and staff, Ohio University recently adopted a new policy that will allow students to choose a preferred name and/or gender pronoun for self-identification. The preferred name and pronoun will be used when the student’s legal name is not necessary.
The new policy titled was approved on June 4 and provides specific guidelines for the use of preferred names and pronouns. The policy is the end result of unanimously approved “Preferred Name” resolutions from the Student and Graduate Student senates over the past two years.
Individuals may have a variety of reasons to take advantage of the university’s preferred name options, such as preferring use of a middle name, a nickname, or another name, for a variety of personal reasons. Preferred names may be self-reported at My Ohio Student Center (students) or My Personal Information (employees).
Ohio University Campus Care as well as Counseling and Psychological Services have already implemented similar preferred name practices into their daily health care operations.
There are some exceptions to the use of preferred names and pronouns.
A student’s legal name must be used on: admission applications, reporting to state and federal agencies, transcripts, financial aid documents and processes, ID cards (both the preferred and legal names will appear on student ID cards), enrollment and degree verification processes, transfer and external credit processes, official lists of students made available to the public or for communicating with parents and/or guardians and records where the legal name is required by law or university policy.
Although students can provide their preferred name and pronoun, the university reserves the right to remove any name that is inappropriate or used for misrepresentation. A legal name change is not required before a preferred name is requested.
“We’re excited to offer this new option to students,” said Bob Bulow, associate registrar for technology in the Office of the University Registrar. “There are still reasons we will need to use students’ legal names, but this will let us move toward addressing students how they want to be addressed in most situations.”
Director of the LGBT Center Delfin Bautista said the new policy is a step in the right direction.
“This is an important policy for many students, especially trans identified students, who have the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to their gender identity,” Bautista said. “In addition to trans and gender expansive students, the policy can also be helpful to international students who want to go by an Americanized or variation of their name as well as students changing their last name due to personal conflicts with family such as divorce or abuse.”
A brown bag information session will be held Tuesday, Sept. 1, in the Baker University Center Ballroom. Representatives from several university offices, including the University Registrar, Human Resources and the LGBT Center, will be available to further explain the policy and answer any questions from the audience.
For information about the new policy, visit the “Names” page on the University Registrar website at www.ohio.edu/registrar/names.cfm.