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A Student’s Name is a Student’s Choice

What’s in a name? If it’s your name, maybe a lot.

A Calbright staff member saw that a transgender student was having a problem: their legal (dead) name was different from their chosen name. That meant the information in Calbright’s student records was misinforming staff and the student’s dead name would be used occasionally by accident. 

The solution was technically a little complicated, but conceptually very simple: we’ve added a field to our databases where a student’s chosen name can be entered. We are still legally required to use a student’s legal name in some circumstances, but for everything else a student’s chosen name is what staff and faculty now see when they look at a student record, and what gets used.  

There’s no application process or paperwork or hoops to jump through. It doesn’t matter why a student wants us to use a chosen name. What matters is that it’s something that will make them more comfortable with their education, and so it’s something we want to do. 

Too much of our higher education system is defined by barriers that keep people from getting in.  Barriers of cost, barriers of time, barriers of culture, barriers of exclusivity, and sometimes barriers that just keep people from feeling welcomed and seen. At Calbright, we believe in taking down as many of these barriers as possible. 

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