Rutgers University has approved a new student preferred name policy that will enable students to use preferred names instead of legal names on official class rosters, the university’s learning resource management system Sakai and the Rutgers Electronic Grading and Information System.
The new name policy is an attempt to better accommodate international, transgender, gender-nonconforming and LGBT students. Previously, students wishing to be addressed by an alternative name had to email professors in advance, but Zaneta Rago, acting director of the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities at Rutgers, says the new policy will eliminate that process
In a report from The Daily Targum, Rago says the old procedure took nearly two years due to the technicalities associated with a name change. For this reason, a preferred name policy has been in the works for some time now.
“LGBT students and staff have been talking about the possibility of a preferred name policy for two years now, and ultimately with the creation of a new student group, the Trans*missions – the first trans and gender-nonconforming and ally student group on campus – in conjunction with RUSA, put together a preferred name bill last year,” says Rago.
Rago says that university administrators met the policy with open arms, though the technicalities and logistics of changing a student’s name was time consuming nonetheless.
The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities worked with Rutgers’ division of Student Affairs, the Registrar’s Office and the Office of Information Technology to institute the new preferred name policy.
According to Rago, since the policy became operational, about 65 students have signed forms to utilize the preferred name policy. The second phase of the policy, which is in progress, will enable students to use preferred names for student ID cards as well as housing rosters.