Approver(s):

Executive Council

Authorizes Release:

Chief of Staff for the President

Responsible Area:

Office of the President

Review Cycle:

Annually or as required

Last Review:

October 2022

Purpose

St. Mary’s University, guided by its Catholic and Marianist values, is committed to respecting the dignity of every person. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) fosters efforts to define, cultivate and support an inclusive educational community and workplace environment aligned with St. Mary’s mission and its Catholic and Marianist identity. The Office is committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion through community building and partnering to serve the common good. The work of the Office is guided by the St. Mary’s mission, Characteristics of Marianist Universities and Catholic Social Teaching focused on the shared tenets of understanding, appreciation and respect for human dignity and cultural differences.

In support of this commitment, the University has adopted a process that enables students and employees who identify themselves by a name other than their legal name to use a preferred name for university records and systems that do not require use of a legal name.

Scope

This policy applies to all students and employees of St. Mary’s University.

Definitions

  • Preferred name – A preferred name (also known as a chosen name) is an alternative to the individual’s legal name as designated by the individual in university systems. For example, a student or employee may wish to shorten their first name (e.g. Steven to Steve) or be referred to by their middle name or a nickname.
  • Legal Name – A legal name is the name a person uses for official governmental documents, such as licenses, passports, and tax forms.

Policy

Students and employees who identify themselves by a name other than their Legal Name may request use of a Preferred name by following the procedure outlined in this policy. 

  • Students: Students may update their Preferred name in Gateway on the Registrar’s page.
  • Faculty, and Staff: Employees may update their Preferred name in Gateway on the Office of Human Resources page.

Additional Information

When there is a Preferred name on record, the Legal Name will be used only when it is required for business, regulatory, legal, and external reporting purposes including, but not limited to, student accounts, financial aid documents, official transcripts, federal immigration documents, police records, conduct records, medical and health records, payroll, and professional licensure records.

To ensure accurate records, students, faculty, and staff should routinely identify themselves with their ID number if using a Preferred name. When identifying, referring to, or requesting information about others, students, faculty, and staff should use the Preferred name of the individual as well as their ID number.

Faculty, staff, or students who update their Preferred name after being issued an identification card may request a replacement card (applicable replacement fee will apply).

Policy Maintenance

The following units will be responsible for the maintenance of this policy:

  • Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Office of Human Resources
  • Office of the Provost
  • Registrar
  • Student Development

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did St. Mary’s University create this new policy?

St. Mary’s University, guided by its Catholic and Marianist values, is committed to respecting the dignity of every person.

In support of this commitment, the University has adopted a process that enables students and employees who identify themselves by a name other than their legal name to use a preferred name for university records and systems that do not require use of a legal name.

What is your preferred name?

A preferred name (also referred to as a chosen name) is how an individual would like to be addressed while at St. Mary’s University. It does not require any legal documentation.

Why would an individual request a preferred name?

An individual may have multiple reasons for wanting others to know and address the individual by a specific name. Individuals may go by a name other than a legal name (including nicknames, middle names, or names other than a given name) in everyday life or may choose a different name to ease pronunciation challenges or may have chosen to go by a different name. Individuals may not have the ability or desire to change their legal name.

How does an individual update a preferred name?

Students may update their preferred name in Gateway on the Registrar’s page.

Employees may update their preferred name in Gateway on the Human Resources page.

What does an individual who is both a student and an employee do?

Many individuals in the University community are both students and employees, if your primary role is student then you will initiate this change in the Office of the Registrar. If your primary role is employee, then you will initiate this change with the Office of Human Resources.

Do individuals have to provide a preferred name?

No. An individual does not have to select a chosen name. If an individual does not select a chosen name, the individual’s legal name will be used.

May I change my preferred name to whatever I want?

We trust the members of the St. Mary’s Community to select a preferred name after careful consideration, with good intentions, and with the community’s best interest in mind. We do not anticipate having to deny a name change or remove a preferred name. However, we do reserve the right to reject any inappropriate request containing offensive language or a request being used for misrepresentation which will result in the removal of a preferred name with or without notice. Any removal of an inappropriate preferred name will default to the individual’s legal name. When possible, your preferred name should only include alphabetical characters (A-Z and a-z), a space, or hyphen (-). Using other symbols may prevent a preferred name from appearing as intended in campus software.

How many times may I change my preferred name?

Adding a preferred name in university systems can have ripple effects throughout your day-to-day experiences. Changing your preferred name more than once can lead to confusion regarding your identity, challenges in customer service, and/or the interruption of your ability to access some university systems. We do not limit the number of changes a name change can be submitted for approval.

How do I delete my preferred name?

To revert your preferred name an individual must contact the appropriate office who updated the original record. Students can contact the Office of the Registrar. Employees can contact the Office of Human Resources. Processing time may vary according to offices and/or processes.

Where is a preferred name used?

A preferred name will be used in lieu of the legal name wherever the legal name is not required. The preferred name will appear in the following systems. This is not a complete list.

  • ID Card (When not on campus, students who have elected a Preferred name on their ID card are cautioned that their campus ID should not be viewed as official identification.)
  • University Email
  • Online Directory Listing
  • Co-curricular Transcript
  • Banner
  • Gateway
  • Grade sheet reports
  • Canvas
  • Advisee Reports
  • GPS

Places where Legal Name is used (this is not a complete list):

  • Bills
  • Financial Aid Records
  • Verification Requests and Enrollment Inquiries
  • Official Transcript
  • National Student Clearinghouse
  • Federal Immigration Documents (i.e.  Visas)
  • Police Records
  • Medical and Insurance Records
  • Conduct Records
  • Payroll
  • Professional Licensure Records
  • Tax Reporting/Records

Who has access to my legal and preferred names?

The chosen first name provided will be the default name displayed on staff- and faculty-facing systems. The student’s legal name will still display to staff that have been granted permission or in cases where the legal name is required by law or for reporting purposes (e.g., official transcripts and verifications, financial aid, billing/accounts receivable/ collections, reporting to the government for tax or visa purposes, etc.). 

Note for students: Under FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a student’s name may be disclosed to the public as “directory information” unless the student opts not to permit such disclosure. For students who have selected a preferred name, only the preferred name will be disclosed. To revoke the university’s disclosure of directory information, students have the right to restrict the release of directory information. A currently enrolled student may request directory information not be made public by completing the privacy request form no earlier than the first day of class and no later than the 12th day of class in a semester (or fourth-class day in summer session).

Can an individual get a new ID Card with the preferred name?

Yes. Once a preferred name is updated with the Office of the Registrar and/or the Office of Human Resources, individuals may request a new ID card (applicable replacement fee will apply).

How would university mail be affected?

University mail may use your name from the directory. The directory will use your chosen name. However, not all mail may use preferred name (i.e., W2 or payroll).

How do individuals update their legal name?

An approved preferred name request does not update a legal name. Students are required to provide their legal name on their applications for admission. After enrollment, students may process official legal name changes or corrections with the Office of the University Registrar.

Employees may update their legal names through Human Resources.

Documentation required to change legal name: A request for a change of legal name must be accompanied by applicable documentation, including but not limited to:

  • Valid passport
  • Court action document
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree (the appropriate page of the decree)
  • Valid driver’s license and social security card (you must submit both and the names must match)
  • Federal or state-issued identification card and a social security card (you must submit both and the names must match)

Why is a certain office or system not using an individual’s preferred name?

There are a few reasons an office or system might not be using an individual’s preferred name in some or all communications. Some offices or processes require the use of an individual’s legal name. For example, admission-related processes; transfer credit; federal, state, and institutional student financial aid; and payroll are examples of processes that require use of the legal name. Even though some processes require the use of the legal name, it is the intent that all offices use the preferred name as much as possible in general communications.

There is also a chance that an online system is not including an individual’s preferred name when it should be. If that is the case, students may contact the Office of the Registrar and Faculty and Staff may contact Human Resources.

What if I chose not to select a preferred name?

Students and employees are not required to submit a preferred name. If a student or employee does not submit a chosen name, their legal name will continue to appear on all systems.

Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?

Current students may contact the Registrar’s Office or employees may contact Human Resources.

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