Rutgers approves preferred student name policy

Rutgers has approved a student preferred name policy, starting last week. According to the policy, class rosters, Sakai and Rutgers Electronic Grading and Information System will allow students to use preferred names instead of legal names.

This policy would no longer require students, especially gender-nonconforming, international and transgender students, to email professors beforehand to use different names or pronouns, said Zaneta Rago, acting director of the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities.

Rago said the procedure took nearly two years due to the technicalities associated with it. However, the center, along with student groups such as Rutgers University Student Assembly and Trans*missions, helped in its implementation.

“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,”

Rago said. 

While the policy did not face any kind of pushback, the technicalities consumed most of the time. 

“To create any type of change on campus, it’s a group effort between students, faculty, staff and administrators, and I wouldn’t necessarily say it was very difficult, but I think it has been a long process just because there’s so many technical aspects to … implementing the change,” she said.

The center worked with the division of Student Affairs, the Registrar’s Office and the Office of Information Technology to institute the procedure. 

Justin Lucero, treasurer for RUSA, said RUSA held a meeting in November last year to discuss the bill on preferred name policy and passed it. 

“The first thing we did was pass a resolution to publicize support for the policy,” said Lucero, a junior in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

Last year, members of RUSA met Felicia McGinty, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, to express the need for the policy. McGinty said she would draft the policy change and bring it up with administration.

Rago said since the policy became operational, about 65 students have signed forms to utilize the policy. However, this was only the first phase of the procedure. The second phase, which is in progress, would allow students to use preferred names for student ID cards and housing rosters. 

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