Drake University is drafting a preferred name policy that will enable students to change the first name that appears on many university platforms, ranging from email addresses to the campus card.
Per a report from The Times-Delphic, the new preferred name policy is slated for launch in the coming weeks, and has been on the docket for some time with interior discussions of a policy dating as far back as five years.
The policy finished its public review period last week and will enable all Drake students to submit the first name of their choice to appear on non-legal documents and other, select university platforms. Included in the policy will be campus cards, residence hall rosters, Blackboard and MyDUSIS databases, class rosters, advisor lists and email addresses.
As at other institutions, the preferred name policy at Drake is designed to alleviate any confusion over how a student identifies. The preferred name policy will attempt to avoid this by displaying for teachers only the preferred name on class rosters.
Drake’s Director of Student Engagement, Equity and Inclusion stated in a Times-Delphic interview that the preferred name policy has been discussed at the university for some time, but the project really took off after a 2014 campus pride index assessment — a national assessment tool administered by the Campus Pride organization. The index is designed to gauge LGBTQ inclusion on college campuses, and Drake received 2 stars out of a possible five.
About a year ago, and following the index score, a working group was formed at Drake with members from campus IT and student records, which ultimately formed the preferred name policy.
Prior to the new preferred name policy, Drake accommodated students seeking a name change on a case-by-case basis. With the new policy, university officials hope that for a simplified pursuit of a preferred name with an easier, more recognized process.
According to Drake Student Engagement, Equity and Inclusion, some 1,300 students currently have a preferred name in the system that differs from the name they arrived at Drake with. Of those students, 900 have preferred names that are deemed “significantly different” from their legal name. International students who often assume a more common name are included in this figure.
Emails are also being sent to the campus community to further explain the policy and how it will work. Students can begin the preferred name submission process on the university’s MyDUSIS system under a “personal information” tab. There students can download the necessary form to submit a preferred name and also check if they already have a preferred name.