Preferred names allowed on Splash Cards, class rosters

Kate Jamison, Online News Editor

This semester, Tulane is allowing students to use a preferred name on their Splash Cards and on class registration lists, as well as officially indicate their personal gender pronoun.

Preferred names are names that students use in their day-to-day life. This name may be one that better fits the student’s gender identity, is easier to pronounce than their legal name, or is a nickname or middle name. This move aims to support transgender and international students, as well as any student that uses a name that is different from their given name in the student information system.

“Next semester will be the first and only semester of my Tulane career in which I will not need to email all my professors in advance of classes beginning, coming out to them and requesting they use my preferred name and personal pronouns,” senior Max Diamond said. “I’m so relieved that steps are finally being taken to look out for the safety of transgender students.”

For senior Nhu Tran, who goes by Emma, being able to change her Tulane-registered name allows her to identify with the name she’s used since elementary school. 

“Both of my parents are of Vietnamese ethnicity,” Tran said. “When I was born they gave me a Vietnamese name. My grandparents suggested they give me the name Emma to make it easier in school.” 

Students will be able to register their preferred name online through Gibson. That name will then be printed on their Splash Cards and will be available to professors on faculty rosters as well as on OrgSync, Blackboard and academic advising records. The preferred name will also be distributed to all campus healthcare providers.

Tran said she has felt uncomfortable when professors at Tulane mispronounce her birth name. She has changed her name on Gibson but not yet on her Splash Card. 

“I’ll be sitting in class and the professor will say my Vietnamese name and just completely butcher it,” Tran said. “it makes you feel almost embarrassed to be from the culture you’re a part of.” 

In addition to their preferred name, students will also be able to indicate their personal pronoun at the same time that they select their preferred name on Gibson. Students will be allowed to select the gender-inclusive pronoun of their choice; he, she or they (a gender-neutral pronoun). Students can also indicate that they would be preferred to be called by name only.

The registrar will begin to print preferred names and personal pronouns on class rosters beginning in the Spring 2016 semester. Names will be changed on student Splash Cards as soon as possible.

These changes resulted from efforts from Undergraduate Student Government and are the newest in a series of policy changes to promote gender inclusivity. The Lavin-Bernick Center made all single-user bathrooms gender neutral last year and the Department of Housing and Residence Life has worked to implement gender-inclusive housing.

Director of the Office for Gender and Sexual Diversity Red Tremmel will be hosting “Transgender 101” workshops to educate attendees about transgender issues and history as well as how to be an effective ally to the transgender community.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Max Diamond is a junior. He is a senior. We regret the error.