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UCSD accepting preferred names in campus databases

Andrew Hudson   ||   Apr 18, 2019  ||   

UC San Diego (UCSD) is accepting preferred names in its campus databases, with future plans to extend the service to printing the names on student ID cards. This marks UCSD's first foray into preferred names and will enable students to submit both a preferred name and pronoun that they wish to be referred to by the university, with those designations being reflected in most campus records systems.

As reported by UCSD student publication, The Triton, all undergraduate and graduate students have the option to specify a preferred first and middle name, as well as a preferred pronoun on the university's My TritonLink web portal.

Graduate students currently teaching at the university cannot yet request a preferred name or pronoun while teaching classes, as the system update does not yet support those with staff or faculty designations in the university database. Future iterations of the initiative will, however, support graduate student faculty designations. The university also reserves the right to remove or deny a preferred name or personal pronoun submission if they believe the student is using the tool inappropriately.

At UCSD, a preferred name includes names chosen by the individual for a number of reasons, including those that reflect cultural, personal, or religious identity, as well as nicknames or names that accurately reflect a person’s gender identity. Preferred names will now be displayed in campus systems including UCSD's Virtual Advising Center (VAC), campus directories, Find-a-Student, Class Lists, eGrades, and commencement-related documents beginning later this month.

UCSD is also supporting an optional, chosen personal pronoun to accompany the preferred name. Students can choose from a list of "He/Him," "She/Her," "They/Them," "Ze/Hir," "Per/Per," the Preferred Name alone, or "Other." As with the preferred name, pronouns will be shown on the VAC, Class Lists, and Find-A-Student, but will not appear in eGrades or commencement material.

UCSD’s move to preferred names brings the university inline with a number of other UC campuses. UCLA began accepting preferred names on student ID cards in 2017 and has accepted preferred names on students’ online paperwork since 2015. Elsewhere, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, and an estimated 200 universities across the nation currently allow preferred names on course rosters, waitlists, and ID cards.

While UCSD doesn’t currently print new student ID cards with the preferred name, the UCSD Preferred Name and Personal Pronouns resource page states the UCSD ID Card/One cards will soon be included in the initiative.

Legal names will continue to be used on official UCSD documents, on authorized external communications not directed solely to the student, and in systems that must use legal name for legal or regulatory purposes. Legal names will continue to be used on official transcripts, diplomas, authorized payer systems, 1098T, financial aid documents, and communications to students' parents regarding orientation.

Preferred names will be used to identify students in most day-to-day university business and on some documents, so UCSD urges students to select a preferred names that the student is comfortable with being used in public settings within the university setting. There is no limit to how often a student can change their preferred name or pronoun, but name changes can take up to 30 days to be reflected in some campus systems.

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