For schools working with students transitioning, the issue of name change can be a complicated one. Laws vary from state to state. Here is how one university handles name changes.
Statement of commitment to inclusion
In support of the University of Pennsylvania’s commitment to providing an equitable and safe experience for students whose birth name and/or legal name does not reflect their gender identity and/or gender expression, Penn accepts requests from such students to use a preferred first and/or middle name in University records. A student’s preferred name can and will be used where feasible in all University systems unless the student’s birth name and/or legal name use is required by law or the student’s preferred name use is for intent of misrepresentation.
Transgender, gender nonconforming, gender variant, and non-cisgender students who wish to designate a preferred name should fill out the Preferred Name Change Form. Students wishing to change a birth name and/or legal name to a preferred name must meet with one of the following designated University Life trans* allies to discuss the scope and limitations of the preferred name request:
Karu Kozuma, Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs, 215-898-6081
Erin Cross, Associate Director, LGBT Center, 215-898-5044
Rodney Robinson, Associate Director, Office of Student Affairs, 215-898-6533
Although the University is committed to supporting students in the trans* community, it is important to understand that designating a preferred name for use at Penn DOES NOT constitute a legal name change. A student’s birth name and/or legal name will continue to be used on certain University documents. Preferred first and/or middle names may be designated. The University is unable to designate a preferred surname without documents showing that the surname has been changed legally by a court or government entity.
Students interested in changing their name legally can find resources through local government or the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia.
Can all Penn students request to change their designation from a birth name and/or legal name to a preferred name? At this time, the Preferred Name Change process is only available to transgender, gender nonconforming, gender variant, and non-cisgender individuals and only for first and/or middle names.
I would like to talk to someone about changing my name in Penn systems to my preferred name. Please contact one of the above University Life trans* allies.
I am a student and made a legal name change. How do I communicate this legal name change to the University?Legal names can be updated through the University Registrar.