DEI-102: Chosen Name Policy

Impact Area: SUNY Morrisville (Morrisville campus, Norwich campus, EOC)

Author: Student Affairs

Policy Summary

SUNY Morrisville is committed to acknowledging the diverse and inclusive ethos of our campus. This policy aligns with current SUNY guidance with the purpose of encouraging an environment for personal expression within community standards. SUNY Morrisville recognizes the needs of students and employees who wish to be identified by a first name that differs from their legal name. As a welcoming, inclusive community, SUNY Morrisville wants all our community members to be addressed by their chosen name.

The SUNY Morrisville chosen (preferred or updated) first name policy allows students and employees to officially notify the college of their chosen first names, and have this change reflected in on-campus communication systems, as long as the chosen first name is not used for purposes of misidentification, fraud or misrepresentation and that the preferred first name meets community standards (e.g. not profane, obscene, or derived from hate-speech; and conform to technical requirements). There are limits to where chosen first names will be reflected in college communications.

This policy is consistent with current Title IX guidance protecting students against discrimination based on gender identity and expression, and is a best practice for supporting transgender and gender non-conforming members of college communities. This service is available to anyone who uses a chosen first name on a daily basis other than their legal/primary first name.

The chosen first name is used for internal communication and certain external communications (e.g. website staff bio pages, sports information). Internal applications for the use of approved chosen first name include but may not be limited to: Student computer user account and email, Learning Management Systems (LMS) (i.e. Blackboard and Brightspace), class rosters, advising lists, housing lists, mid-term grade reports, final grade reports, listings of possible graduates, mailroom data file, and MAC meal plan data file. SUNY Morrisville identification cards for both students and employees, will display chosen name on the front of the ID card and legal name on the back.

The College is obligated to use the legal first name for many official records and reports, including but not limited to: certain employment and payroll records, billing records, financial aid documents, official transcripts, diploma, medical records, employee benefits records, expense reimbursements, travel and purchasing authorizations, enrollment reporting, conduct hearing results, external reporting, and federal immigration documents.

Requests for use of chosen first name shall be limited to one request per academic year. For more information about the preferred name policy contact: Title IX Coordinator, Human Resources Director or the Chief Diversity Officer.

Chosen Name Procedure


Currently there is not a place on Web for Students for students to submit their own chosen names. The Registrar’s Office handles all student name changes. The student will complete a Chosen Name Request Form in the Registrar’s Office, who reviews the chosen first name request and processes the change in the Banner Student Information System. If the chosen first name is vulgar, racist or inappropriate in any way, then the Registrar’s Office will refer the student to the Chief Diversity Officer, prior to any changes being made. If the chosen name is entered in Banner after the student’s Computer User Account and/or Learning Management System account have already been created, then the Registrar’s Office should create a Technology Services ticket to have the student’s chosen name updated manually in several other systems that use student names. Students with questions about the policy and/or process for requesting use of a chosen first name should contact the Chief Diversity Officer. Appeals for denied requests should be presented to the Title IX Coordinator.


The Human Resources office reviews preferred first name requests from employees. Appeals for denied requests should be presented to the Title IX Coordinator.

Adjusting various institution information systems to include the use of the preferred first name is a multi-year effort, due to the complexity and interrelated nature of systems and record sources.

Members of our community may already be using a first name that differs from their legal first name, some examples might be:

  • Using shortened version of their name: Andy for Andrew
  • Using their middle name instead of their first name: Bill for Gerald Williams Smith, Jr
  • Using a name that better represents their gender identity
  • Using a name that they are in the process of legally changing


Q: Why do we have a Chosen First Name Policy?

The policy brings us in line with recommendations for compliance with Title IX and related SUNY guidance. It also promotes a campus ethos, which welcomes and supports self-expression.

Q: Who does the policy affect?

Students and employees, as well as employees of College Auxiliary Services and the Research Foundation who wish to be recognized by and use a different first name from their legal first name, and within community standards.

Q: Why would someone want to use a chosen first name?

There are plenty of reasons. Usually because of a personal identification (for example, transgender or transitioning persons), or for an “Americanization” of their legal name, particularly among our international colleagues and students.

Q: Does the policy allow me to change my legal name?

No. Your chosen name is for college-related communication and identification. Your legal name remains unchanged.

Q: Where will I see a chosen first name?

You will see them on most internal communications, such as email, advising and class lists, housing lists, and mailroom. ID cards will also be affected, with the preferred first name on the front, and the legal name on the back.

Q: How do I seek the use of a chosen first name?

Complete the Chosen Name Request Form available in the Registrar’s office in Whipple Administration Building or if an employee, please work with Human Resources. Once form is completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office, you can go to the MAC ID office to get an ID with your chosen name.

Q: How often can I request a preferred first name?

Requests are limited to one per academic year.