Policy on Preferred/Chosen Name, Personal Pronouns, and Formalized Expression of Gender Identity
- Policy Category and Number: Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Effective Date: 4/26/2023
- Responsible Officer: Vice President of Diversity Equity and Inclusion
- History: New Policy
- Responsible Office: Office of Institutional Equity
- Location: Link to Policy
This policy affirms Wentworth Institute of Technology’s (university) commitment to a diverse and inclusive environment by empowering students and employees to accurately represent their identity, including their gender identity, through the use of preferred/chosen names and personal pronouns.
This policy applies to all students, alumni, and employees affiliated with this policy.
Wentworth Institute of Technology recognizes the right of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and third parties to use a preferred/chosen name and to use personal pronouns that accurately reflect their gender identity.
Pursuant to this policy, any individual may identify themselves using a preferred/chosen name in lieu of or in addition to their legal name, as defined below. A preferred/chosen name may be used in situations where a legal name does not accurately or completely reflect a person’s personal or professional identity, including, but not limited to, situations where:
- A person is known by an alternative first name or nickname;
- A person prefers to use an alternative first name in the context of their employment or in related publications;
- A person’s legal name is inconsistent with their gender identity.
Preferred/chosen names, as defined below, will be used where possible in the course of University programs or activities, where allowed by law. A legal name will be used only when it is required for business, legal, and external reporting purposes.
Students, faculty, staff, and all other participants in Wentworth programs and activities are expected to communicate in a way that is considerate of the personal pronouns and preferred/chosen name of others. Intentional non-compliance with this policy may implicate the University’s Non-Discrimination Policy and/or the Sexual Misconduct & Sex-based Discrimination Policy.
A first name, other than a legal name, used by a person for identification purposes, instead of a legal name. A preferred/chosen name will appear on:
- Athletic Team Rosters
- Online Directory
- Class Rosters
- Commencement Programs
- Dean’s List
- Library Records
- Learning Management System
- Housing Occupancy Rosters
- Wentworth Issued Photo Identification Cards
- Email Display Name
- Employee Relations Database
Name recorded on a person’s legal identification (i.e., passport, birth certificate, Social Security card) and used on official University records. A legal name will appear on:
- Financial Aid and Billing Records and Communication
- Official and Unofficial Transcripts
- Paychecks & Paystubs
- Registrar’s Office Records (i.e., permanent student file records)
- Study Abroad (i.e., travel documents, signature documents)
- Some official forms or correspondence from the University such as financial aid awards, residence life contracts, departmental or program notices, new hire forms, etc.
- Transfer credit evaluation
- Tax records (including W-2 forms)
- Diplomas and certifications
- Medical records
- Admissions records
- Disciplinary records
Pronouns that are used to reference a person; pronouns may be gendered (she/her, he/him) or gender neutral (they/them).
Expression or presentation of gender; includes both informal expressions (ex: behavior and appearance) and formal expressions (ex: use of preferred/chosen name, use of gender affirming personal pronouns, and formally expressed gender identity).
Formalized Expression of Gender Identity
Formal designation of gender within university systems or records; includes designation of gender, preferred/chosen name and/or gender affirming personal pronouns.
Updating a Preferred/Chosen Name, Personal Pronouns, and Formalized Expression of Gender Identity
Students, faculty, and staff may update their records to reflect a preferred/chosen name, personal pronouns, and expressed gender identity by logging into Leopard Web and updating the contents of the “Personal Information” tab. Alumni should contact the Office of the Registrar.
The university reserves the right to decline or revoke an approved preferred/chosen name if the name is used for criminal or misrepresentation purposes, is harmful to the reputation or interests of the university, and/or conveys inappropriate or offensive language or meaning.
- If denial is made of a student request, the student may appeal the decision in writing to the Registrar. The Registrar will provide an opportunity to reconsider the request and the denial. Abuse or misuse of this policy and process may result in disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.
- If denial is made of an employee request, the employee may appeal the decision in writing to the Office of Human Resources. The Office of Human Resources will provide to reconsider the request and the denial.
In some contexts, an individual may be required to produce a government issued ID, including a driver’s license, a social security card, or a passport. While a University ID card may be used for identification within university programs or activities, it cannot be used as a substitute for a government issued ID. For example, the Internal Revenue Service requires the name on an employee's W-2 form to match the name on their Social Security card. These records can be changed when the employee has completed a legal name change.
Campus mailings will be sent to the home address that is provided and will use the “preferred/chosen name” in these mailings.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the following information is considered to be “directory information:” name (including “preferred /chosen name”), major, enrollment status, address, email, birth date, honors, dates of attendance, degree conferred.
Students who decide to withhold directory information will need to contact the Office of the Registrar at email@example.com. Such requests will be honored for one academic year, unless otherwise requested by the student.
Updating a University Issued Identification Card
The university recognizes that some students, faculty, or staff, may prefer to use a Wentworth Issued Photo Identification Card that reflects their preferred/chosen Name. Accordingly, students, faculty, and staff may request a new ID card reflecting the preferred/chosen name from Parking Services. Any printing fees will be waived for approved students.
University members should consult with the Office of Institutional Equity if they believe that complying with this policy would result in a failure to comply with law, policy, and/or other obligation. The Office of Institutional Equity will work with the inquiring individual and/or other relevant stakeholders to determine whether there is a conflict necessitating an exception to this policy.
Additional Information & Related Documents
- Wentworth Institute of Technology Sexual Misconduct & Sex-based Discrimination Policy
- Non-Discrimination Policy for Students and Employees
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Interpretation & Revision
Any questions of interpretation regarding this policy shall be referred to Executive Director of Equity and Compliance. They will be the final authority regarding the interpretation of this Policy.
This policy shall be reviewed every 3 years, however minor changes and updates can be made at any time.
In instances where two or more policies are implicated, a case-by-case determination will be made to determine what policy will be used.
Review and Revision History
This policy was drafted by representatives from the Office of Institutional Equity, the Office of the Registrar, the Office of Human Resources, and Enterprise Information Services. This policy was reviewed by Cabinet and approved by the President on April 26, 2023.
This policy supplements policy language relating to preferred/chosen names, including the academic catalog.