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Students think preferred name policy needs attention

In response to the shift in online learning and increasingly diverse students, colleges across the country are changing their policies regarding the usage of preferred names. Some students at LCCC feel that the preferred name policy needs to be updated.

The LCCC Gender and Sexuality Acceptance (GSA) resources state, "The Office of Student Records and Registration provide the forms that give the option of using a preferred name that will show up on the faculty roster.”

According to the pamphlet, which is available on the college’s website, anyone can use a preferred name when they initially register as a student. A student who wishes to change their preferred name in the middle of the semester is also able to do this by speaking to the registrar in person, located in the Student Services Center.

While the change is effective on class rosters, preferred names do not show up on student IDs, library cards, email addresses, financial aid, business records, student advising, the Career Development Center, and the MyLCCC online portal.

“I tried to use it last semester,” an anonymous student said. “But when the professor took attendance, my name never showed up. It was an embarrassing situation. Humiliating."

According to multiple LCCC school officials, students must legally change their name before it appears on official documents. The name change process can cost up to $1,000 and takes up to three to six months in the state of Pennsylvania, as stated by the Eastern PA Transgender Equity Project.

Northampton Community College allows students to request a name change by filling out a short form on their website. While it will not update a student’s chosen name on the class rosters, their preferred name will be used in their email address and shown on the MyNCC portal. To address the roster issue, the NCC website indicates that students can submit a letter (or email) with their chosen names and preferred pronouns to each of their professors.

As educational institutions adapt to the changing world with new policies toward COVID, emails and online display names are used more now than in past semesters. Names are a fundamental part of identity; they represent who we are and the way we want to be seen in the world.

“I can have any name on my diploma, which I’m taking advantage of,” the anonymous student said. “But none of my professors or college mates will recognize my name, my true name, when I graduate.”

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