California State University, Fresno is now accepting preferred names on campus cards and in the university’s Blackboard system, bringing the campus in line with a number of its peers nationwide.
Per a report from Fresno State’s student publication, The Collegian, the university’s Blackboard system previously only used students’ legal names, but the new initiative has seen the policy updated to enable students to use both a preferred first and middle name. Preferred names are now reflected in faculty class and grade rosters, on the university’s Blackboard online portal and on Fresno State University email. Fresno State does not, however, allow the use of preferred names on student records.
Fresno State’s coordinator of gender and LGBTQ programs said in the report that the student portal allowed preferred names a few years ago, but that the service was not utilized. It was a problem that led to some students not participating fully in online class discussions on the web portal for fear of being outed as transgender.
Fresno State’s vice president for student affairs says that one of the more common concerns heard from students was the ability to use preferred names. The decision to accept preferred names is just one of a host of measures take at Fresno State during the 2015-2016 academic year designed to make the campus more inclusive for the LGBTQ community.
University officials say that preferred names were important to accept because it’s how students identify themselves, with the bottom line being that if it’s important to students, then it needs to be very important to student affairs as well.
University officials have also stressed the importance of having preferred names across all campus platforms in an effort to be as inclusive as possible. In addition to being reflected on the university’s online web portal and class rosters, students are also able to have a preferred first and middle name printed on their Fresno State ID.