Fostering an inclusive campus — a message from Kathryn DeLucia-Burk, ULethbridge gender equity, diversity and inclusion consultant

ULethbridge staff and faculty play a vital role in fostering inclusive spaces! One way we can accomplish this goal is by ensuring we use the correct names for our students. Some students may use a name that is different from their legal name, which is labeled a "preferred” name in our current system. Currently, student names are not displayed consistently across the many virtual systems that help the University work. This issue impacts many students on campus who use a chosen or preferred name. For our international students who may be using a different name than is listed on their legal documents, the confusion around names on attendance sheets can lead to uncertainty around how to respectfully address our international students. For 2SLGBTQ+ students, and especially transgender and gender-diverse students, this issue can lead to a student being addressed by a name they no longer wish to be identified by, known as a “dead name.” Using a dead name to refer to a trans student can place them at risk for harassment and bullying, forcefully outs them in the classroom, and can cause undue emotional harm.

Faculty can support students by ensuring the correct name is utilized in the classroom and in emails. Course attendance lists generated by Moodle will always show a student’s chosen name (if they have registered one), while the Bridge displays both legal and preferred names in brackets, which can cause faculty to accidentally use the wrong name for their students. While we work to address how our Banner system displays student names, we encourage faculty to utilize Moodle to generate their student lists to minimize the chances of using the incorrect name and to share information about the preferred name option.

Staff can support students by informing them of the options for name changes and registering a preferred name, as not all of our students are aware of these options. Also, staff can ensure the correct name is used for a student by utilizing the student’s chosen name whenever and wherever possible, such as in filing, emails and other correspondence. Student ID numbers make using a legal name unnecessary for a number of tasks and procedures, however the use of legal names for students with a registered preferred name can place that student at risk.

By taking this small step, we can ensure all students who do not wish to go by their legal name are respected and welcome in our spaces, and in the process protect student safety and mental health. Students can register a chosen preferred name, request a preferred name for their student email account, or update their legal name. For more information on how to change a name or register a preferred name, visit:www.ulethbridge.ca/lgbtq.

If you have any questions regarding student names, name changes, or fostering a gender-inclusive classroom, my inbox (kathryn.delucia@uleth.ca) is open for any questions or for requests for resources and information on fostering an inclusive campus.

-Kathryn DeLucia-Burk
[she/her]
Gender Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant
University of Lethbridge Human Resources


Contact:

caroline.zentner | caroline.zentner@uleth.ca