Education Social Justice ‘Preferred Name’ Policy may help transgender or international students By ALEXANDRIA SCHELL Posted on March 21, 2013 3 min read 0 0 475 Awkwardness in regards to the relationship between an individual’s name and their sexual orientation may be forever eliminated when voted on at next week’s Student Senate meeting. Hannah Dunn, LGBT Affairs commissioner, further explained the ‘Preferred Name’ Policy to senators Wednesday. The change would appear on any student directory, BlackBoard, student ID, class rosters and any student electronic records. “This policy affirms [a student’s] name and gender. It helps prevent awkward situations,” said Dunn. Multiple situations could use this new policy. Not only would this affect transgendered students, but also international students who wish to ‘Americanize’ their names due to difficult pronunciation. For legal and professional reasons, there is no way to change a student’s name on legal or financial documents for the university. Senate would have to work closely with OIT, th registrar’s office and the Dean of Students. An application process would be used as a way to weed out people who want a name change. “It may or may not require students to state why they want to change their name,” said Dunn. Michigan University, along with Illinois, Bowling Green State University, Case Western, Wisconsin, Stanford and Michigan State are among the list of schools that have already implemented the policy change. According to campusprideindex.org, OU has a Pride Index of 4.5 stars. The university has all of campus pride policies and practices except for the preferred name policy. Implementing this change would bump OU to a five-star rating on the Pride Index scale. OU boasts a five-star rating for sexual orientation, gender identity and expression scores, student life and LGBT support and institutional commitment. OU received lower scores for policy inclusion of LGBT members and academic life. The lowest score of 2.5 was given for recruitment and retention of LGBT members. OU’s score may be bumped up when the website updates inclusion of LGBT-friendly dorm buildings, an initiative implemented last year, as well as the preferred name policy. Senators will vote on the policy change at next week’s meeting in the presence of OU President Roderick McDavis.