New policy allows students to use preferred names on student IDs

MSA Senator Sterling Waldman: “Not having people’s preferred name on an ID is a safety hazard. Being misgendered is a painful experience.”

MU has recently made changes to their student ID name policy.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 21, students who do not identify with their legal name will not have to use a student ID with that name.

MU implemented a new preferred name policy. This policy allows students to have their preferred name on ID cards, transcripts and diplomas and anywhere else a legal name is not required.

The push for a policy started two years ago. At the request of students, the university implemented an option for students to enter a preferred name in the Blackboard system.

The university uses a software system called PeopleSoft that allows students to access the same information across different platforms. The preferred name policy uses the software to allow students to use the name of their choice throughout the system.

The policy was created to ensure preferred names could be used anywhere that does not require a legal name. That includes all university-related systems and documents, specifically class rosters, residence hall rosters, university identification cards, transcripts (if requested in myZou), and diplomas.

University employees must reach out to the human resources representative of their department to update their name.

Last year, University Registrar Brenda Selman contacted various administrative and student bodies, including the LGBTQ Center, the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX and the offices of the provost, to design and draft the policy.

After completing the draft, Selman brought the policy to General Counsel Stephen Owens to ensure the legality of allowing preferred names on university documents. Owens reviewed the policy for months before it was implemented.

A group of students from the LGBTQ community reviewed the policy after it was sent to General Counsel.

Two to 3 percent of students use a name other than their legal name. Along with transgender students, international students also make up a large number of students who have preferred names, Selman said.

Missouri Students Association Senator and transgender student Sterling Waldman has used their preferred name since before high school.

“Not having people’s preferred name on an ID is a safety hazard,” Waldman said. “Being misgendered is a painful experience.”

Despite that the policy was implemented Wednesday, it will take more time to change names on transcripts and diplomas. The university needed to approve the policy before applying the programming changes to PeopleSoft. Therefore, those changes will become active in the next few months.

The Division of Information Technology will work to change the preferred names in all university systems during that time. However, ID cards with preferred names became available Sept. 21.

“The policy has passed. That’s the first step. It tells us what we need to do, and the meetings [with IT] now are how we’re going to do that,” Selman said.

Selman said her goal is to have preferred names on diplomas of students graduating this semester.

The cost of a new ID card is $15 at the ID Office in the MU Student Center.

Edited by Emily Gallion |

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