By Kelly Kennedy, Senior Writer
New policies have been implemented where students can now update their profiles to reflect their chosen name and chosen gender as of the 2023 spring semester.
According to the Manhattan College Chosen Name and Chosen Gender Identity Policies, students and employees are now able to elect to use a chosen name or gender different from the one legally noted in their account. These changes will be reflected in campus software such as DegreeWorks, Jasper Connect and on their campus ID.
These new policies were implemented in accordance with the New York City Human Rights Law. According to Title IX Chief Compliance Officer Goldie Adele, Manhattan College is one of many colleges in the area to adopt these new policies.
These new policies are now standard practice for many colleges regardless of religious affiliation. According to Adele, other Catholic colleges such as Fordham University, have also implemented similar policies regarding student’s chosen name and chosen gender.
This change will have no effect on a student or employee’s legal name or gender identification.
“These policies provide students an opportunity to be able to change their preferred name and also preferred gender, which they can do through Banner 9 on Self-Service,” Adele said. “However, this is not their legal name change, so their transcripts, diplomas and all those official documents will still have their legal name [or gender].”
According to the Manhattan College Chosen Gender Identity Policy, “Manhattan College is dedicated to the Lasallian Core Principles of Respect for All People and Inclusive Community. The college recognizes the many reasons why members of our community may wish to be identified by a gender other than what is listed on their legal records. Where possible, the college will allow students and employees to identify by a chosen gender identity.”
The call for change was spearheaded by the LGBTQ+ Task Force, co-chaired by Tiffany French and Rocco Mariaccio, Ph.D.
“In the 2020-2021 school year, our Director of Diversity and Equity oversaw the Diversity Council and conducted a Diversity Climate survey,” French said. “In that survey, it was discovered that our colleagues who are black and our colleagues that are LGBTQ+ experienced higher rates of adverse experiences and discrimination than other campus populations. So the Diversity Council formed a few working groups or task forces to address those concerns. From that we implemented some things that are aimed at making our campus more inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ+ people.”
French and the LGBTQ+ Task Force saw the results of this survey and addressed these concerns to make the MC community a more inclusive and welcoming environment.
French also spoke about the necessity of supporting the LQBTQ+ community on campus and how this support contributes to a healthy, open environment.
“While I am not a part of those communities myself, I believe that it’s important that we advocate for one another because when one member of our community is not receiving the support they need to fully thrive on campus, it takes away from the strength and power of our entire community,” said French. “While we all have different needs in the LGBTQ+ community, we can ensure that everyone is taken care of in a supportive way. This allows someone who might use a name that is less associated with one gender or another, traditionally, or that allows them to be who they are most comfortable being on campus in lots of contexts, like class rosters and more.”