TU students, faculty, staff may now request a chosen name

By Sean Welsh on October 20, 2019

Chosen and preferred name policy aims to further TU's priority for an inclusive campus.

TU students

About a dozen Towson University students and 50 faculty and staff have already taken advantage of an initiative that enables members of the TU community to request a preferred name with the university.

In September, TU instituted Chosen / Preferred Name resources for students, faculty and staff who wanted to utilize a different name than the one that may appear on their email, OneCard or other university-issued items.

The initiative originated from the student body and the outcome was a year's work involving offices across the university, including the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity and the Office of Technology Services, among others.

That effort and the resulting framework paves the way for a more inclusive campus community.

"Every member of the TU community deserves to be recognized by their gender-affirming name," President Kim Schatzel said. "As we work to create a more inclusive campus, the Chosen Name initiative is another step toward making all members of our community feel more safe and supported at Towson University.”

Students, faculty and staff can learn more about the steps to place a request on the Chosen & Preferred Name Resources page of the university's website.

“This initiative is one that originated within the last year from our campus community, and President Schatzel immediately made it a priority for the university," said Leah Cox, vice president for inclusion and institutional equity. "It is another step in our work toward building a better, more inclusive TU. Enabling our students, faculty and staff to determine their own identity only makes our campus community more inclusive.” 

It also fosters a better learning environment for students and faculty.

“In the classroom, both students and faculty must feel comfortable in order to create an environment where students can fully engage, grow, and most importantly be challenged to learn to their full potential," said Melanie Perreault, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. "This initiative is an important part of our continued efforts to promote academic success.”

In the past, TU has offered guidance to community members around legally changing their name. But many voiced concerns that legally changing a name would place them in uncomfortable positions either at or outside of the university.

Since resources went live as the calendar turned to October, more than 60 community members have engaged with the request platform.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: Diverse and Inclusive Campus.