Preferred Names Update

Posted 7 May 2021
We want to support students to feel comfortable
The latest information, is that the university are currently trialling a software system, which will enable students to choose to add, what the University is referring to as a ‘preferred name’ category.

Preferred Names Update

(The term ‘preferred name’ is used throughout to avoid confusion as this is what it is termed by the University.)

We know that there are a number of reasons that students might choose to use a different name than their legal name.

For instance, students may have trans and non-binary identities, may have a different cultural background or first language which means that they may prefer to use a different name to their legal name in a University setting. These are just a couple of examples.

We want to support students to be able to feel comfortable in all learning environments, all activities, and every in person, or virtual space within the University and Students’ Union.

For a long time it's been on my radar, that the students who want who use different names to their legal name have experienced issues in having this presented on various learning platforms such as Microsoft Teams, email addresses, etc.

The latest information, is that the university are currently trialling a software system, which will enable students to choose to add, what the University is referring to as a ‘preferred name’ category. This, this will be in place from September, in the new term in 2021. This will mean that if a student uses a name other than their legal name, they can request to add a name in the ‘prefferred name’ category. (The exact process is to be confirmed, but this is likely to be by requesting it through the University Student Services.) This ‘preferred’ name will be presented on platforms including Microsoft teams. I recognise that this option will be important for students who are not able to or are or do not want to change their legal name, but wish to be referred to by a different name.

I'm still aware though that September 2021 is still a while away, and it's still really important to stand in solidarity with and support students who would like to be referred to  by their preferred name right now, for many reasons, especially to affirm and respect students’ identities.

Whilst the software is still being trialled, I'd like to remind all students that lecturers have access to inclusivity best practice guidance. This  is a collection of recommendations from the University’s Teaching Excellence Academy that teaching staff can use to be as inclusive of students as possible, particularly those from minority and marginalised groups. This includes that they are recommended to normalise the use of pronouns and asking what students prefer to be called rather than assuming any of these things. This is something that you can hold your teaching staff accountable to.

In February 2021, I also delivered a brief presentation where I spoke about the importance of language and pronouns for being inclusive to trans+ staff and students. This is available to all staff and students https://uoh.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=cca9f7e5-e549-4084-8a2a-acb700b4e7d3

The University is also currently looking into the capability of having the option to add pronouns onto other platforms. It is currently available on Canvas, but it is wider discussion as to how this can be put onto other virtual platforms as well.

But we still need to ensure that we're not leaving behind the students who really need support right now.

Your issues, experiences and concerns are so important.

If you have any further questions or comments, you can contact Evie at [email protected]

 

Evie Kyte (President of Inclusivity and Diversity, Hull University Students’ Union) she/her

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