Mount Royal University to let students go by preferred first name
'We must recognize our students for who they are,' says MRU vice-president
The student union president at Mount Royal University says a new policy allowing students to use the first names of their choice will make many people feel more welcome on campus.
Students will now be able to use the first name they prefer for many of the campus's systems and services, MRU announced Monday.
Preferred names will be allowed on class lists, email accounts and student ID cards. Legal names will still have to be used on graduation parchments.
Shifrah Gadamsetti, president of the Students' Association of MRU, says it's a smart policy.
'Provides autonomy to students'
"Often times I think we struggle with trying to be as inclusive as possible, and sometimes we enter lines of questioning, sometimes we try to be experts on issues that we aren't really. And I think that this policy helps overcome some of that and really provides autonomy to students," she said.
"It eradicates a potential line of questioning that people might be uncomfortable with, whether it be misgendering or the mispronouncing of a name."
It's a policy change the school hopes will lead to a more inclusive environment for transgender students and international students who want to Anglicize their names.
"We must recognize our students for who they are," said Phil Warsaba, associate vice-president of enrolment management and registrar at Mount Royal, in a release.
"Many of our students identify themselves in a way that differs from their legal name. Giving students the right to choose and use a preferred first name increases a sense of belonging within our campus community."
Students will not be allowed to choose a name that's considered offensive or pretend to be anyone else.
The University of Alberta, McGill University and some schools in the United States, including Yale University, have adopted similar policies.
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