“ME @ THE G” PROJECT INTRODUCTION
UNCG fully supports and values an inclusive community with visible and meaningful representation of diversity. We seek to promote a climate of civility and respect, where diverse viewpoints and experiences are welcomed. UNCG is committed to protecting the rights of all to ensure each person in our community is empowered, valued and respected for their contributions to the mission of the University. As a minority-serving institution, we embrace our role serving a large, diverse student body and to our mission of providing access and opportunity for all.
We recognize that faculty, staff, and/or students may wish to use first names other than their legal first name to identify themselves. Aligned with UNCG’s commitment to inclusive excellence, the University hopes to implement this opportunity to allow individuals to have their chosen name and pronouns used in as many campus platforms as possible.
As a university committed to a safe and inclusive environment for all students, we seek to explore approaches for students to make selections of names and pronouns. Colleges and universities nationally have provided these options, as have we in a limited way.
Given additional technical capacity in Canvas and Banner to expand those options, the Chancellor shall convene an Advisory Committee on Names and Pronouns Selections to inform policy and best practices in consideration of integrating names and pronouns selections into Canvas and Banner.
Specifically, the committee is charged to:
- Review gold-standard policy and procedures on names and pronouns selections at campuses within the UNC system and nationally.
- Consult with University Counsel regarding legal name changes and best practice approaches to names and pronouns selections.
- Consult with ITS and the Registrar’s Office about the technical and data management requirements for varied approaches. The committee may also engage in processes for campus feedback, as it deems appropriate.
The following offices and departments were represented on the committee.
- Office of the Provost
- Title IX
- Campus Violence Response Center
- LGBTQ+ Education and Research Network (LEARN)
- Dean of Students
- Office of Intercultural Engagement
- Human Resources
- University Registrar’s Office
- University Teaching and Learning Center
- Division of Student Affairs
- Information Technology Services
- Housing & Residence Life
- Student Government Association
- General Counsel
Based on research, discussions, meetings, and consultations, the Advisory Committee made the following recommendations concerning the selection and use of pronouns and preferred/chosen name at UNCG:
- Develop a comprehensive chart/”road map” of where name changes will and will not take effect or appear. The Committee feels this is especially important for UNCG to develop in order to be as informational as well as transparent as possible with respect to how a student’s preferred/chosen name will or will not show up across various systems and platforms in use at the University.
- Develop a comprehensive list of campus systems/platforms utilizing student names where the implementation of preferred/chosen name and pronouns would be impacted. With the large number of systems, the committee will prioritize several platforms that will have the greatest impact to integrate first – see below.
- Formally approve and implement the list of pronouns developed and vetted by Student Affairs through the ITS Data Governance Subcommittee – see below.
- Ask the Registrar’s Office to consider implementing a practice/process whereby students do not physically have to come into the office to process/finalize a request for a Preferred Name change.
- Develop an educational/marketing campaign to inform the University community of new policies and procedures related to selecting and indicating pronouns, preferred/chosen name, and ultimately gender designations within the various platforms used across the University
Continue working with the SpartanCard Center with respect to policies and practices related to having one’s preferred/chosen name appear on a SpartanCard ID. Currently, there are no practices or policies listed off of the SpartanCard website that would assist someone wanting to know how to have a name other than their legal name appear on their ID card.
Given that there are over 50 programs/applications/services in use at UNCG, IT Services recommended that the Committee begin with a small, manageable number of services first–preferably services that are utilized and affected more by students. The Committee recognizes that staff and faculty are also affected and could also benefit from these recommended services. It is the Committee’s hope that once we are able to make progress with these more student-facing systems, that the transition to systems affecting staff and faculty will be a much smoother process.
In consultation with IT Services, the following systems were recommended:
- RMS (occupancy management system utilized by Housing & Residence Life)
- Maxient (student conduct software utilized by the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities)
- Admissions application systems (both undergraduate & graduate)
- Microsoft Identity Manager/Identity Management Platforms (e.g., iSpartan Email system)
Current Policies and Practices at UNCG
The University Registrar’s Office currently lists the policies and procedures regarding changing of personal information, specifically with respect to name changes, gender designations, and preferred name designations; however, there is currently no guidance with respect to pronouns selection.
Name changes are processed with respect to a variety of reasons (marriage, legal change, divorce, adoption, spelling error, and hyphenation), all of which require some form(s) of legal documentation before such changes to a name can be carried out. Information from Information Technology Services (ITS) exists which assists individuals wishing to change their name within their email (iSpartan) account as well as across accounts in general (email, Campus Directory). Computer account names (usernames) can not be changed; however, how your name appears in email headers as well as within the online Campus Directory (preferred name) can be changed.
The Office of Intercultural Engagement has information for students on how to change their name across a variety of formats, including email, the Registrar’s Office (Preferred First Name Policy), and on their Spartan ID card. Additionally, the Office of Intercultural Engagement shares an FAQ developed by the Gender Diversity Working Group of LEARN (LGBTQ+ Education And Research Network) on things to know with respect to changing your name on campus.
Students may designate a preferred name (possibly not a student’s legal name) either at the time of applying for admissions to UNCG or after matriculation. This “preferred name” only appears in Canvas in the form of the instructor’s roster and students are required to visit the Registrar’s Office in person in order to designate a preferred name. The student’s legal name appears in all other formats and services related to University Registrar Office’s procedures (e.g., official grade roll and transcripts).
Often times names and gender/sex are interconnected within societal constructs around what names are for “boys/men (“masculine”)” and “girls/women (“feminine”).” UNCG’s policy and practice around changing one’s gender designation at the University consists of providing official/legal documentation to the University Registrar’s Office (“original signed letter from a physician attesting that the process of gender transition is complete or by an official court order affirming a gender change”). This process completely by-passes the option and experiences of many trans and gender diverse individuals who do not want to undergo medical procedures (in the form of gender transition) simply to be recognized and acknowledged by the gender with which they identify.
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