PREFERRED NAME, GENDER, COLLEGE AFFILIATION AND PRONOUN POLICY
Hobart and William Smith Colleges recognize that their students may identify themselves with names other than their legal names and/or have gender identities and/or use pronouns different from their sex assigned at birth. The Colleges also acknowledge that a “preferred” primary first name, gender, and/or pronoun should be used whenever possible in the course of a student’s education to ensure a supportive academic and living environment that will facilitate a healthy and welcoming educational and personal experience for all students at the Colleges. Therefore, consistent with its general practices for amending other students’ records, the Colleges will permit use of a preferred name, preferred primary name, gender, and/or pronoun, provided that such use is not for the purpose of misrepresentation.
Students who indicated a preferred name, gender, and/or pronoun during the application process must submit the form required by this policy to ensure that preferred name, gender, and/or pronoun are recorded upon enrollment. Students who wish to request both a preferred name and gender or pronoun should consider submitting such requests together, as failure to do so will result in use of the gender and pronoun typically associated with the legal name and/or legal sex of record until the student submits a request for a preferred gender and/or pronoun.
Preferred Primary Name
Students wishing to have a preferred first name as their primary name which would appear in addition to the places above, may register their Preferred Primary Name. Students who are applying to or enrolled at the Colleges who have a preferred primary name may complete the Preferred Primary Name, Gender, College-Affiliation and Pronoun Request form found at the link below. The Preferred Primary Name will be reflected on all internal records of the Colleges, including, but not limited to, course rosters (for faculty and coaches), student and faculty-facing PeopleSoft systems, internal health records (to the extent possible), student conduct records, housing records, the students’ Colleges identification card, directory listing, e-mail, official transcript, and diploma, unless the student has requested both a new Preferred Primary Name and a Preferred Name—in such cases, the Preferred Name (treated as a nickname) will override the Preferred Primary Name but the Preferred Primary Name will still appear on transcripts and diplomas. Please note that some of the records used by the Colleges’ systems (such as Payroll (including tax documents), Financial Aid, external health records used when communicating with insurance or other providers, and VISA records) are required to carry legal names and thus are unable to accommodate any name other than the student’s legal name. Students who have listed a preferred primary name different from their legal first name, but who still prefer to have their legal first names and/or biological or legal sex appear on their official transcripts and diplomas, may complete another Preferred Primary Name, Gender, and Pronoun Request Form at least 6 weeks prior to graduation to register a new Preferred Primary Name (such as the student’s legal first name and/or biological or legal sex). The Registrar’s Office will send a reminder each semester for students to confirm their preferred primary name.
Gender and/or College Affiliation
Students may list a gender other than their legal sex on the Preferred Primary Name, Gender, and Pronoun Request Form. Their gender identity will be reflected in all Colleges’ systems. Students who change their gender may choose to change their college affiliation (Hobart or William Smith) in order to better match their gender identity. Choosing to change College affiliation may result in a new Dean’s Office assignment.
The use of a chosen personal pronoun provides one way for students to identify themselves and their gender identity/expression. Gender and/or chosen pronouns will appear on course rosters and in other educational records. Pronouns do not appear in the Campus Directory. You can expect your preferred primary name, gender, and chosen pronoun to be honored within the Colleges’ community with other students, faculty and staff.
Registering a Preferred Primary, Gender, College-Affiliation, and/or Chosen Pronoun
In order to notify the Colleges of a preferred name, gender, and/or pronoun, students may complete a Preferred Name, Gender, and Pronoun Request Form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office or fax it to 315-781-3920.
Students who wish to request a preferred primary name, College-affiliation, gender, and/or chosen pronoun should consider submitting such requests together, as failure to do so will result in use of the gender and pronoun typically associated with the legal name and/or legal sex of record until the student submits a request for their preference.
Please be advised that changing your name and/or gender in the Colleges’ student records is not the same as legally changing your name and/or sex through the courts (or in the case of sex, through a birth certificate in some states) and you may be challenged when you are asked to provide proof of your legal name and/or identity for employment or government purposes, such as obtaining a passport.
Any student requesting a preferred name, gender, and/or pronoun who does not want the Colleges to share their legal name with external organizations can request a FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) directory exclusion, which revokes the Colleges’ right to share any of the student’s information with any outside source. Requesting a FERPA exclusion means that the student will not be listed in the directory and the Colleges cannot confirm the student’s status (e.g., for the purposes of credit card and insurance verifications, etc.). In addition, please note that there are some exclusions to FERPA that require the Colleges to disclose preferred primary names, preferred names, as well as any previous names, such as to Homeland Security, and local, state, and federal law enforcement. For more information, please contact the Registrar’s Office located in Gulick Hall, First Floor, 315-781-3651. Please note that it is not possible for a student to change to a preferred primary name in the Colleges’ system and simultaneously be listed by their legal name in the directory.
The Colleges encourage students to give serious consideration to the request to use a preferred name, gender, and/or chosen pronoun. Inappropriate use of this policy may be cause for denying the request. Individuals are free to select their preferred primary names, gender, College-affiliation, and/or chosen pronoun provided that it is not for the purpose of misrepresentation (using inappropriate names or using the process to avoid a legal obligation).
Enrolled students who wish to change their legal name and/or biological sex on Colleges records, may follow the process for changing a legal name and/or sex on official Colleges records.
Previous Students, Alumni, and Alumnae
Students who have transferred or withdrawn from the Colleges, alumni, and alumnae seeking to change their legal name and/or sex on Colleges’ records, follow the process for changing a legal name and/or sex on official Colleges’ records using this form.
Office of the Registrar
Gulick Hall, First Floor
Phone: (315) 781-3651
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Fax: (315) 781-3920