SAU Buzz

A New “Chosen Name” Policy Comes to SAU

by Ashlynn Maczko
Posted on Feb 19, 2018

DAVENPORT, Iowa—The St. Ambrose University Registrar’s Office and Dean of Students Office announced a new policy on Jan. 26, which will impact the way the university handles preferred names.

The Student Handbook has been amended to include this new policy—”the Preferred (Chosen) Name Policy”. It is located on page nine of the Student Handbook, which can be found on the St. Ambrose University website.

Dean of Students Tim Phillips said that the policy was created and put into consideration after an increasing number of students have requested to change their names on BeeCards and online services like Blackboard, Dean of Students Tim Phillips said.

“Over the last few years a couple of things have pushed it,” Phillips said. “Not the least of which is the presence and comfort of students who might identify as transgender, who have come forward and said ‘hey, can we have these changes?’”

A group of faculty members was put together to form the policy. This group included members who work with the university’s information and data systems—Michelle Voelkers, Tracy Schuster-Matlock, Daniel Ziemet and others within the Registrar’s and Dean of Students Offices.

Schuster-Matlock brought the policy proposal to the President’s Cabinet Oct. 19, 2017, where it was approved for addition to the student handbook.

The Preferred Name Policy states, “the university recognizes that as a community many of its members use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. As long as the use of this preferred (chosen) name is not for the purpose of misrepresentation, the University acknowledges that a “preferred (chosen) name” can and should be used wherever possible in the course of University business and education.”

This means that the preferred name can be used for class rosters, BeeCards, Blackboard and other communication systems; however, the individual’s legal name must be used for legal records such as financial aid, housing contracts and payroll. The legal last name must be used in all cases.

Students, faculty and staff will be able to submit a name change request to the Registrar’s Office using a form on the portal. Once this is done, the correct offices can begin making the changes in the university’s systems. It could take five to seven days for the changes to be reflected in the information systems, Michelle Voelkers said.

Phillips explained that for class rosters, the preferred name is the name that will be generated on the roster list. As the professor is reading off names, the preferred name is what they will see and what will be called in front of the class.

Similarly, the individual’s preferred name will be listed on the front of the BeeCard, with the legal name on the back above the magstripe. This way, if the individual must present their BeeCard for any reason, they are being called by their preferred name. If you wish to make this change and turn in your old BeeCard, no charge will be applied. If you do not forfeit the old BeeCard, the Residence Life Office will issue a charge like they do for replacement IDs, Voelkers said.

Incoming students will automatically be issued an email address using their legal name, but students will be able to contact IT and get a new email reflecting their preferred name, Phillips explained.

“I’m hopeful two things will happen,” Phillips said. “One: that students who have a chosen name that they prefer (different than their legal name) will feel more welcome and more able to identify as who they are and how they prefer to be. Second: I think that our faculty and staff will be in a better position to affirm the dignity and worth of our students as they come to us, however they choose to come.”