Chosen Names Policy

Title: Chosen Names Policy

Contact: Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Passed by University Senate: 1-27-17

Approved by Cabinet: 8-23-17

I. Reason for Policy

Chosen names can be vitally important to our students, faculty, and staff for a variety of reasons. For those within the LGBTQ community, they allow the use of a name that properly expresses one’s gender identity. In some cases they help individuals avoid reminders of past trauma. They allow international students to use a westernized name that makes them feel more comfortable in their new setting. Whatever reason an individual has for using a chosen name, this policy communicates to individuals that they are welcome and valued on our campus; it can be a vital tool in recruitment and retention strategies.

II. Policy Statement

Fredonia recognizes that many persons identify using a name that is different from their legal name. Fredonia will refer to this name as the “Chosen Name” and will use it when possible in the course of university activities.  

A. Definitions:

  1. LGBTQ: The acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. This is an umbrella term used to refer to a community of individuals whose sexual or gender identities can create shared political and social experiences. The acronym is not meant to be exclusionary; there are other identities, including but not limited to asexual and intersex, that fall under this umbrella term.
  2. Transgender, Trans: An umbrella term that represents individuals whose gender identities do not match the sex assigned to them at birth.
  3. Cisgender, Cis: An individual whose gender identity matches the sex assigned to them at birth.
  4. Chosen Name: The name that an individual uses regardless of the name that was assigned to them at birth. Sometimes referred to as a “preferred name.”
  5. F#: The number assigned to any student, faculty, or staff member when they begin an official relationship with Fredonia.
  6. FREDCard: An identification card used on the Fredonia campus issued by the Fredonia Student Association (FSA).

B. Scope:

  1. When the program is fully implemented, an individual’s Chosen Name will be utilized in the following:
    1. Student Health Center
    2. Counseling Center
    3. ID card (FREDCard)
    4. Class rosters
    5. Learning management system (OnCourse)
    6. Student, faculty, staff portal (Your Connection)
    7. Student Information System
    8. Email address
    9. Advising folders
    10. Campus Directory
    11. Residence Life Directory
    12. Commencement programs
    13. Diploma
    14. Library
    15. Athletics
    16. Business Cards
    17. Office Signage
  2. An individual’s legal name will continue to be utilized in the following:
    1. Transcripts
    2. Paychecks and pay stubs
    3. Financial Aid records
    4. Tax Documents
    5. Human Resources records
    6. Any off campus communications (such as any letters sent to a permanent address, communication with emergency personnel, licensing boards)

C. Participation in Fredonia’s Chosen Name program:

  1. Any person with an F# can request to use a Chosen Name.
  2. When the program is fully implemented, participants will be able to self-enroll

D. Limitations:

  1. An individual’s legal name will still be accessible to university personnel when it is necessary to carry out the duties of the institution.
  2. Although an individual may select any Chosen Name, the university reserves the right to deny or remove a Chosen Name if it is inappropriate or used for an improper purpose.
    1. Inappropriate Chosen Names include but are not limited to those that avoid legal obligation, misrepresent, harass, threaten, or are otherwise objectionable.
    2. In most cases, a Chosen Name should not be a message, company, or group name, especially if it is for promotional purposes.
    3. Characters in a Chosen Name: So that Chosen Names can be fully integrated into our information technology systems, the following character limitations have been implemented. A Chosen Name:
      1. Must contain at least one alpha character (A-Z, upper or lowercase). That is, the Chosen Name field cannot be blank.
      2. May contain the following non-alpha characters: space, hyphen, apostrophe, and period.
      3. May not contain numbers (although a number may be spelled out in a person’s Chosen Name).
      4. May not contain symbols.
    4. If a Chosen Name is questioned, it will be referred to an advisory group under the authority of the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which will make a recommendation to the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). The CDO has ultimate responsibility for approving or disapproving a Chosen Name.
    5. Individuals with a Chosen Name deemed inappropriate can either select a different Chosen Name or continue to use the legal name.
  3. Students, faculty and staff may make no more than two requests to change their Chosen Name within a 365-day period.

E. Confirming identity internally: Whenever possible, an F# should be collected. If names conflict, check the F# to confirm an individual’s identity.

F. Communication with outside agencies: Any participant in the chosen name program who directs an outside agency to correspond with Fredonia bears the responsibility for clarifying their name with all agencies.

G. FREDCards:

  1. Students, faculty and staff who adopt a Chosen Name must obtain a replacement ID card within two weeks of the change.
  2. While students, faculty and staff may change their Chosen Name more than once, they are entitled to only one free replacement card. The individual is responsible for any replacement card charges associated with subsequent changes.
  3. The FREDCard is not recognized as a legal form of identification.

III. Related Documents

A. Chosen Name Policy passed by University Senate, 1-27-17

B. Final Report of the Chosen Name Task Force

IV. Website Address for this Policy

V. Authority for Policy

Authority for policies is the President's Cabinet.