Students’ lived/chosen names now reflected across additional CMU systems

Future updates will further support Gender Recognition and Lived Name Policy

| Author: Ari Harris | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

“A person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie, author. 

Students at Central Michigan University will now more easily be able to control the name that appears on their official university records. Following the adoption of the Gender recognition and lived/chosen name policy last year, several university offices have collaborated to ensure that students’ lived names are used consistently across all internal systems, processes and documents.

Previously, students were able to see their lived or chosen names in systems such as BlackBoard, library systems, CMU email and listservs, and more. With the new updates, those names will now also appear correctly across additional systems, including degree progress, class lists and official transcripts.

“This project has been underway for several years and we’re encouraged by the fact that tangible results have begun to emerge from our efforts. With real-time feedback gleaned from students, faculty, staff, as well as alum, the Gender Recognition and Lived/Chosen Name Committee has worked with intentionality to craft a policy that is actionable and affords sustainable change,” said Shawna Patterson-Stephens, vice president for Inclusive Excellence and Belonging. “We believe the continued development of this policy – and the broader implications for practice and pedagogy related to the policy – is critical to creating holistic educational opportunities that ensure students feel valued and that they belong.”

She noted that this is another important step toward fostering a more welcoming and inclusive university community, one of the goals included in both the university’s new 2023-2028 Strategic Plan and the multiyear Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan

Process to update names

Keith Malkowski, registrar for CMU, said students can check to see which name is currently listed for them in CMU’s systems by accessing the “degree progress” portion of their student profile through CentralLink, available by signing into the website.

If the name currently listed is not their lived or chosen name, students can use the “First name changes for alternate/chosen/preferred” link on the Student Records and Policies webpage.  Once the form has been submitted, it will take up to two business days for the name to update across all systems and for deadnames to be removed, Malkowski said.

New students also can supply a lived, chosen or preferred name as part of the college application process.

“We were fortunate to have a listening session with several students during the 2023 spring semester who gave us feedback from their experiences, and those of their peers, on our processes and other cross-campus training and awareness activities,” Malkowski said.

The most recent updates reflect that student feedback, Malkowski said, and there is further work to be done to fully realize the university’s goals to foster a more inclusive teaching, learning and living environment for all individuals.

The Division of Student Affairs is reaching out to students this week to notify them of the opportunity to update their lived/chosen names. Faculty and staff also are encouraged to share the news with students who may be interested in requesting the update.

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