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University adds option to change preferred name on e:vision

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Image Credit: John Robinson

In what has been described as a ‘massive win for students’, the University of York have added a modification
to e:vision, meaning that students can change their preferred first names without having to email student services.

In England, there is no legal procedure to follow when changing a preferred name. This means that the University must give students the option to change their name on records.

While the University previously gave students the option to do this, the process was complex and lengthy. This new change seeks to remove unnecessary steps and to make the transition as simple as possible for the individual.

The change came into fruition following a collaboration between the University’s IT department and the
Arts and Humanities Faculty Rep at YUSU. The current Arts and Humanities Rep, Cath Brislane, states that
“we are hopeful that this will help start to address larger issues around deadnaming and preferred names across the
student body.”

This feature can be used at any point of the academic year and will allow students to be known by a different
first name to the one on their official record. It also means that students don’t have to wait until the next academic
year to register a different name on the record.

This change can be done to reflect a student’s preference for an abbreviated name, ‘English name’, or to reflect
their gender identity. Allowing students to be identified by their preferred name in all correspondence is extremely important in order for the University to be recognised as LGBTQ friendly.

On YUSU’s trans and non-binary student webpage, the students’ union claims that “YUSU and the University
of York recognise the value of a diverse community.

We do not discriminate against people on the grounds of gender identity or gender reassignment. It is really important to us that transgender and non-binary students feel welcome.”

The University already has the options to register your chosen pronouns on University documentation. The option of a gender-neutral title, ‘Mx’ is available as a drop-down option when registering on the student record system.

However, technical problems within the system have meant that preferred names will not be used in all correspondence from University/YUSU.

The Arts and Humanities Faculty Rep has claimed that “Sabbatical Officers, YUSU staff, and the wider University
body are working actively to resolve it.

Finally, since the update to e:vision, we have been consulting with students and EDI leads in departments to make the name editing feature as inclusive as possible. After some talks we are now using ‘Display (preferred/chosen) name’ in our communications instead of ‘Preferred name’ in order to reflect the reasons students may want to change their name for. The wording on e:vision is now 'chosen name', but we can modify this in the future as we see fit."

In response to a comment on a post outlining how to make the change on e:vision, Brislane stated that “it’s surprising that it has not been a feature for a while since it was a small fix”. However, they are hopeful that it will make a “world of difference” for students.

Further advice the University provides to students who wish to change their name includes the following: “Inform your departmental administrator, Inform your other key contacts around the University, update your email address for any external mailing lists or subscriptions and consider noting change of name in email signature".

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