University drafts official preferred names policy document
September 21st marked the University of Missouri’s acceptance of preferred names on student IDs. The change comes after the university drafted an official preferred name policy.
According to a document released the university’s Office of the Registrar, Missouri’s policy enables the preferred name to appear anywhere that does not require a legal name. Instances where preferred names will be used include all university-related systems and documents, class rosters, residence hall rosters, campus cards, transcripts if requested, and diplomas.
Per the document, students are expected to facilitate the use of preferred name by updating the student information system (myZou). The university, meanwhile, will acknowledge that a preferred name can and should be used wherever possible in the course of university business and education. University employees can also choose to use a preferred name, but must go through university human resources within their department to update the name.
Despite the acknowledgement of preferred names there will always be instances in which a legal name will be required. Per Missouri’s policy, these will include but are not limited to:
- Reporting to state or federal agencies
- Transcripts (unless the student has requested a preferred name in myZou)
- Diplomas (unless the student has requested a preferred name in myZou)
- Payroll documents
- Financial aid documents and processes
- Enrollment and degree verification processes
- Other records where the student’s legal name is required by law or University policy
- Official lists of students made available to the public
- Communications with the “Family of___.”
Policy drafting began last year, with the Office of the Registrar working with a number of campus stakeholders including the university’s LGBTQ Center, Office for Civil Rights and Title IX, and the offices of the provost.
Missouri’s policy will be implemented in phases, beginning with the printing of preferred names on student ID cards. Transcripts and diplomas will follow, as university approval of a final policy was needed prior to applying any programming changes to the campus’ PeopleSoft system. Missouri’s Registrar intends for preferred names to appear on diplomas of those graduating this semester.
As with many universities, the overall percentage of Missouri students opting to designate a preferred name is expected to be small, with transgender and international students often comprising a large portion of those who opt for preferred names. But the drafting and implementation of a preferred name policy is a valuable service to students nonetheless.