Call Me By My Name
The purpose of this program is for VCU to be able to identify you by the name, gender and pronoun by which you identify. VCU will generally use this name for you when communicating to you and others. Any entry of a name other than one you actually intend to use for university purposes may result in action under relevant university policies, such as the Student Code of Conduct or employment policies.
Name, Pronoun, and Gender Marker Changes
At VCU, diversity drives excellence. That means we at VCU are committed to putting our values into action. One of the ways that we make inclusion real is by recognizing that individuals have the right to use names other than their legal name, to identify with the gender they know themselves to be and to utilize the pronouns that best fit them. For example, people may use a name that: affirms their gender identity, is a middle name, is an anglicized name, is a birth or marital name, or is a nickname. VCU allows for all persons to provide their name/name of use, gender/gender identity and pronouns through the Banner system. VCU uses the language of “name of use,” to recognize that everyone has the right to use the name they choose without having to explain or justify that decision.
VCU added three new fields: name/name of use, gender/gender identity, and pronouns to eServices/Banner. In a multi-phase, multi-year process ultimately, VCU will update all of its platforms to utilize these fields.
Incorrect name listed
If any system a student utilizes has not updated correctly, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should I notify my instructors?
Class rosters should update automatically, however, an instructor may utilize a class roster only once at the beginning of the semester and your change may not be captured. It is highly recommended that you alert (either in person or in writing) your instructor when you have changed your name in the system so that the instructor can print a new roster and that your name of use and pronouns are updated in the meantime.
A sample method of written or verbal communication would be:
“Dear Instructor______, I am writing to update you on my name and pronouns of use during this class. My name is currently listed as ________ on your class roster and associated information. My name is _____________ and my pronouns are __________________. I will be using this identifying information on all of my assignments, so please make a note about the change. If you have any questions, please contact the Dean of Students office at 804-828-8940.”
VCU has many resources and support services available to all students, both on and off campus. Located in the VCU Commons, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) provides many services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and other gender and sexual minority (LGBTQIA+) students including the LGBTQIA+ Discussion group, Queer Coffee Hour, and a Queer and the Trans People of Color (QTPOC) Group.
Ways to Support Your Decision
The university supports your efforts to identify yourself! Please find some good guidance for consideration:
- Once you make this change, VCU will utilize your name of use wherever applicable. That means that this is how VCU will know you; how faculty, staff and other students will search for you and how VCU will address you in official communications, including in mail that is sent to your permanent address (i.e. your parents’ home). Please keep in mind that employees’ information is also available to people outside of VCU through the online directory.
- This is a VCU-only change. That means while you will be known in VCU systems by your name of use, updating VCU systems does not update systems outside of VCU. You will need to make any updates to systems outside VCU directly, and some may require you to provide proof of legal name change in order to update your information. It is your responsibility to coordinate your name with all other legal documents (driver’s license, passport). Changing your name through VCU systems is *not* the same as going through a legal name change. Please go to The National Center for Transgender Equality’s Document ID Center for information if you are interested in changing your name.
- When you start a new job, it will be important to share your name and pronouns with your supervisor and new colleagues early and often so they can get to know you and help you feel welcome in your new work environment. Once they know your correct name and pronouns, your coworkers can ideally help introduce you to others in meetings and when communicating in writing, as well as correct and call in others if you are misgendered, deadnamed, or your name is misspelled or mispronounced. If helpful for written communication, you may want to add your pronouns to your email signature and any presentation materials. If someone uses the wrong name or pronoun for you in a work setting, it will always be up to you if you would like to correct them in the moment or follow up afterwards. Below is an example of a written or verbal communication strategy you could utilize if this happens. It can also be helpful to proactively ask a supervisor or colleague you trust to support you by helping correct people consistently both when you are present and when you are not in the room, as well as to use your name and pronouns regularly around others so they get used to hearing them said correctly.
- “Dear [Supervisor or Colleague’s Name], Thank you for mentioning my project contributions in our staff meeting this morning. "Please note that my name is [name] and I go by [pronouns]. Thank you for referring to me by the correct name and pronouns from here on forward. Hearing my [name/pronoun] said correctly at work makes me feel valued and like part of the team. I appreciate your making this change, and helping correct anyone else you may hear using a different [name/pronoun] for me. Thanks for your support.”
- Your professional organizations may have a different name for you; you are responsible for informing them about your name of use if you wish to do so. Some will have a field for preferred name on their membership forms/portals or when you register for an event or conference, some may allow you to simply put your name of use in the main name field, and others may require you to reach out to a staff member to make this change or note in the system.
- Your applications for jobs and/or graduate school may have a different name listed . You are responsible for informing both the future institution and your recommenders/references. We suggest that you communicate clearly with individuals who may recommend you about your identifying information at VCU and outside VCU, as needed. When applying for jobs and internships, it will always be your choice to share your name and pronouns of use during the application process, based on your own level of comfort. Even if you have to use your legal name on an official application form, you can utilize your name and pronoun of use in your resume, cover letter, supplemental materials, and interview. When putting your name on a professional document, you have lots of viable options if you would like to highlight your chosen name so your future supervisor and colleagues can get it right from the start, including:
- Putting your name of use in parentheses or quotes next to your legal name to signal it is what you want to be called (e.g., Sam “Samantha” Garcia),
- Using an initial for your legal name for visual reference and then spelling out your chosen name in full (e.g., A. Alex Brown),
- Adding an asterisk to any mentions of your legal name (such as a citation for a presentation or publication) with a footnote stating that these items were presented or published under a previous name.
- Leaving your legal name off all together and only spelling out your name of use. Resumes are not legal documents, and hiring managers should easily be able to connect the dots if your last name is the same, even if your resume gets separated from your application in the review or interview process.
- The “tell us about yourself” introductory question in an interview is also a great time to reiterate your name and pronouns early in the discussion if you are ready to do so, to differentiate from the information that may have come through to your interviewers from the Human Resources system earlier in the process.
- If you use your VCU ID as your voter ID, your VCU ID name must match the voter register. You can obtain a VA state ID at the Virginia DMV if you choose to change your VCU ID and are in need of an official ID with your legal name.
- VCU will release your legal name only when necessary and required to do so;you should know that the law requires VCU to release certain records in response to lawfully issued subpoenas, to public records requests under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and as part of required reports to certain state or federal agencies.
- Students: VCU will notify you if it receives a request or subpoena for records containing your identifiable information, including records of any name other than your name of use, and provide you the opportunity to object. You should familiarize yourself with VCU’s policy on student privacy under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Employees: FOIA requires VCU to release a copy of your employment contract ,if applicable, as well as “records of the name, position, job classification, official salary, or rate of pay of, and records of the allowances or reimbursements for expenses paid to” the university. In addition, the Virginia employee salary database pulls data from the Virginia Department of Human Resources (DHRM) to populate its online database. These are some of the more likely situations that may lead to release of records of your names to the public.
- This means VCU will not intentionally out you as using a name different than your legal name. However, because your name of use appears throughout VCU systems, and VCU may also retain records that display your legal name, it is likely others may find that you have more than one name.
- Your legal name will remain in specific records such as financial aid, your academic transcripts, your tax documents, your immigration/visa documents, and your health insurance so you may receive some communication from VCU that utilizes your legal name.