Proposed name change policy

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Genderbread Person v2.0 displays information concerning biological sex and gender identity.

SGA Senator Michael Lotspeich proposed a new resolution, Resolution 28, outlining the implementation of a preferred name policy that will benefit transgender students, international students, and students who would prefer to be called by a name other than their first legal name.

According to the resolution, “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, faculty, and staff constitute a sizeable population of those invested in higher education, especially the University of Illinois system.”

Across these communities and the U of I system, there is a shared concern for “economic and political justice, equal opportunity, and an improved quality of life,” said Lotspeich.

The “current use of legal name on class documents and rosters will ‘out’ a student as transgender by university faculty through roll call on the first day of coursework, fostering an environment of dis-inclusion for a transgender student attempting to obtain a U of I education while in the process of male-female or female-male transformation.”

In addition to the SGA passing this, there is much need for student support behind this issue.

Graduate student Zachary Sullivan, an LGBTQ ally said, the resolution and initiative are “just a suggestion. It will start the conversation. Nothing bad can come from passing this, only support.”

A template is currently being developed by Administrative Information Technology Services (AITS) to present during the May meeting of the U of I Information Technology Priorities Committee. This is separate from the ITS on the UIS campus.

The template, according to the resolution, will “request the analysis of an alternative name in Banner.”

Banner is the administrative system that includes student administration, financial aid, human resources/payroll and other financial services that affect students. In addition to Banner, this preferred name would appear on DARS, unofficial transcripts, grade reports, class rosters, blackboard, etc.

If this resolution is passed by the SGA, Lotspeich will collaborate with the other U of I schools, who too currently do not have this policy in effect, and present it to the AITS committee.

This resolution shows that UIS is behind its students. Sullivan said, “It’s about doing what’s the best for the students.”

Director of the LGBTQ Resource Office Kerry Poynter said, “Essentially, we need to stop reinforcing policing of gender in some ways and allow students to defend who they are. Whenever they interact with someone in class or at the departmental level, this information of a preferred name will be handy. The student won’t have to explain.”

Lotspeich hopes to see student support at the next SGA meeting on April 13 at 7 p.m. He said, “Student support is monumentally influential in this process.”