DoIT Working on System to Allow Students to Use Preferred Name

September 15, 2020

The Department of Information Technology is working on a system to allow students to use their preferred name on certain platforms at UNCP. This system, which will incorporate Banner, Canvas, Braveweb, the roster verification system, and others, will allow students to have their preferred name show up instead of their legal name. DoIT is looking at whether they can include student IDs as part of the documents that will show a preferred name as student IDs may be used for voting. In the event that student IDs are used for voting purposes, legal names will be required. 


This change is a result of Title IX, which requires schools to honor transgender students’ preferred names and pronouns, as well as providing a sex-based harrassement free environment, allowing transgender students to participate in sex-segregated activities and use sex-segregated facilities that align with their gender identity, as well as protecting trangender students’ privacy by avoiding disclosing their gender status without consent. However, Associate Vice Chancellor of Information Resources and Chief Information Officer, Dr. Katina Blue says, “This doesn’t just affect students; it affects faculty and staff as well.” Faculty and staff will be required to adhere by the Title IX laws, including respecting a trangender student’s preferred name and pronouns. 


This preferred name policy is not the only thing DoIT has implemented to help adhere by Title IX guidelines. Earlier in the month, DoIT allowed for students on Canvas to select from three set pronouns: she/her, he/him, or they/them. Once selected, these pronouns will show up beside the name of students on things such as discussion boards. This allows for students’ preferred pronouns to be displayed, preventing accidental misgendering.


The preferred name policy is in the project planning phase. The Department of Information Technology is currently scoping out all possible platforms that will be affected by this. Deputy CIO and Director of Enterprise Applications, Ray Buehne says, “There are a lot of applications that are not hosted at UNCP and we need to determine which applications can hold a preferred name rather than a legal name.” This means that all of the changes will not be fully implemented by the end of the year. Some changes will begin this semester, while some will bleed into the Spring 2021 semester. Project management will be posting a schedule to let students, faculty, and staff know what changes will be happening and when they will occur. 



Screenshot of Canvas' preferred name update. PN Photo/ Jay Loclklear.

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