Preferred/Affirming Names

Preferred/Affirming Names

Preferred/Affirming Names

At the start of the spring 2016 semester the University implemented the first phase of a process to enable students to use a preferred name, recognizing that many individuals use or prefer to be known by a name other than their legal name due to their gender identity, cultural background, or other aspects of their social or personal identity.

Students who wish to use a preferred name may now do so by completing an online request form at this link. Once approved, the preferred first and middle name will appear (1) in the phone and email directories, (2) on the Rowan ID card, (3) on Blackboard, and (4) on Canvas.

When an individual submits a request to use a preferred name, the request will be reviewed and, upon approval, the individual’s records will be updated to display the preferred name in a timely manner, normally within five (5) business days, in the four areas outlined above. The University reserves the right to deny requests in the following circumstances:

  • The name is intended to misrepresent the person’s identity and/or misappropriate the identity of another person or organization;
  • The use of the name is an attempt to avoid a legal obligation;
  • The appearance of the requested name on the University ID or other records would be harmful to the reputation or other interests of the University; and/or
  • The name is derogatory, obscene or otherwise inappropriate.

It is important for students to note that embedded in the forthcoming policy is language that prohibits inappropriate use of the preferred name policy and such use may be cause for disciplinary or adverse employment action and/or denial of the use of a preferred name.

Additionally, the forthcoming policy states that the University will not use the preferred/affirming name on documents or in systems that require the use of the legal name for legal or business related reasons. The individual’s legal name will continue to be used for these records, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Admissions records
  • Official transcripts
  • Enrollment verifications
  • Employment records
  • Paychecks and tax documents
  • Financial aid records
  • Medical records
  • Disciplinary records
  • Law enforcement records

We trust that this new mechanism will support many members of our community in better conveying their names and how they identify.

Questions about the processing of requests or concerns regarding the parameters used for approval of preferred names can be submitted to