Chosen Name Policy
|Chief Diversity Officer for Institutional Equity and Inclusion and Inclusion and the Director of Human Resources|
|Chief Diversity Officer for Institutional Equity and Inclusion|
|First version of the policy 1/2022, revised 12/2022|
|Preferred Name, Chosen Name, GENDA, Non-Discrimination, Gender Expression, Gender Identity|
In January of 2019, the State Legislature passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act or GENDA. The Governor signed the bill into law on January 25, 2019.
GENDA proscribes various entities from discriminating on the basis of gender identity or expression when providing certain access and services, adding gender identity and expression at an equivalent level to other protected classes under New York State law. The statute defines gender identity as “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.”
The new statute also amends the Penal Law to include gender identity or expression to the protected classes to the definition of hate crime, aggravated harassment in the second degree, aggravated harassment in the first degree, and makes corresponding updates to definitions to enforce these provisions. Updates to the criminal law provisions took effect November 1, 2019.
Further, in June 2022, the State University of New York Board of Trustees passed a resolution authorizing the Chancellor to ensure that campus presidents review and update where necessary the campus policy on chosen names and pronouns, to align such policy with the goals and spirit underlying the SUNY Board Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Policy (#7809). The chosen name and pronouns mandate expands on SUNY's 25-Point Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan to make campuses more inclusive for students within marginalized communities.
This policy is intended to align with current SUNY guidance with the purpose of encouraging an environment for personal expression within community standards. In the spirit of acknowledging the diverse and inclusive community, SUNY Empire recognizes that some students and employees wish to use a first name other than a legal or official name of record to identify themselves. SUNY Empire extends this accommodation in order to help foster a more welcoming, supportive and respectful campus climate for all of its students and employees. Additionally, this policy aligns with current Title IX legislation, Title VII legislation, and NYS Labor Law 201-g, and with the purpose of encouraging an environment for personal expression within community standards (i.e., not profane, obscene, or derived from hate-speech; and conform to technical requirements).
This policy recognizes that members of the SUNY Empire community may choose to use names other than their legal names in order to identify themselves and ensures that the chosen name of students and employees can and should be used whenever possible, in the course of business, communication, and/or education. This policy is limited to first names and not surnames or family names.
Chosen Name: For the purpose of this policy, the first name by which a student or employee choses to be known that differs from a person’s legal first name. Please note: The GENDA legislation uses ‘requested name’ and this is synonymous with the definition of chosen name.
Institutional Identification Card: It is an identification document certifying the status of a student or employee.
Legal Name: The name that an individual is given at birth and which appears on a birth certificate recognized by a government or other legal entity, or the name which appears on a marriage certificate or other government-issued document (e.g. court order) on which a legal name change is recorded.
Student: A person who is enrolled at SUNY Empire for the purpose of taking courses and/or working towards obtaining a degree. This can include a matriculated undergraduate, graduate, international, and non-degree seeking student.
Employees: A person employed for wages or salary at SUNY Empire.
SUNY Empire acknowledges that a person’s chosen name can and should be used whenever possible. When required for the protection of the individual, and as required by law, certain official correspondence will use a student or employee’s legal name.
The Chosen Name policy applies to students and employees.
Prohibited uses of a Chosen Name
- A chosen name shall not be used for the purpose of misidentification, misrepresentation, fraud, to avoid legal obligations, or in any other manner that violates SUNY Empire, SUNY, local, state, or federal policy, law, rules or regulations, including the student conduct policy and all employee-related rules and policies. Violations of such policies, laws, rules, or regulations shall be addressed through established procedures.
- A chosen name may not include words, symbols or numbers or be otherwise prohibited under the law and/or SUNY Empire policy or procedure, including the student code of conduct.
- SUNY Empire reserves the right to reject the use of or remove from administrative systems or documents any chosen name that it deems in its sole judgment to be in violation of this policy.
For employees, requests will be reviewed by the Office of Human Resources. For students, requests will be reviewed by the Office of the Registrar.
SUNY Empire is obligated to use the legal name for many official records and reports, including, but not limited to, payroll records, billing records, tax forms, financial aid documents, official transcripts, medical records, enrollment reporting, and federal immigration documents.
This policy is consistent with current values and policies of SUNY Empire that protect students and employees against discrimination based on gender identity and expression, and aligns with state and federal regulations. This policy is drafted as a best practice for supporting transgender and gender non-conforming members of campus communities. The ability to use one’s chosen name is not limited to use by transgender and gender non-conforming students and employees, however, and is available to anyone who uses a chosen name other than their legal/primary first name, on a daily basis.
Applicable Legislation and Regulations
Title IX of the United States
Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices
Students should complete the Chosen Name request form, which is found on the Office of the Registrar’s page under personal identification change.
Employees should complete the Personal Information Form found in the Office of Human Resources website under Forms and reach out to the office for questions.
Students and employees should allow up to 10 business days for a response to the request.
Chosen name will appear in the following locations:
- Self-service Banner
- Learning Management System
- Email address/Office365
- DP Planner (excludes printed Degree Plans)
- PLA Planner
- Service Now
- ID Card
- Human Resources self-service and online time and attendance (for employees)
- SUNY Empire’s directory (for employees)
Students who have registered a chosen name with SUNY Empire can obtain a new ID by visiting the Student Identification Number Card and Login website. Employees can obtain a new ID with their chosen name by sending an email to email@example.com.
While the chosen name will be on the front of the card, the legal name will be shown on the back. The first card for a chosen name change will be issued at no charge. Any card issued after this complimentary card will be charged a $10 replacement fee.
Students may choose to use their chosen name when requesting their diploma. However, students should be aware that some professional and licensing boards require use of legal name in the licensing process. As such, the use of a chosen name on the diploma may delay or complicate a certification or licensure process. In addition, some countries may require a diploma for various legal, immigration, or employment purposes. A student who has already graduated from SUNY Empire may contact the registrar’s office to request a new diploma with their chosen name, however, a fee will be collected for reprinting.
SUNY Empire will make a good faith effort to update reports, documents, and systems that are designated to use one’s chosen name. Adjusting the various information systems to include the use of the chosen name is a multiyear effort, due to the complexity and interrelated nature of systems and record sources.
Requests for chosen names should not be made more than once per academic year.
For Students Appealing a Denial for a Chosen Name
If a request for a chosen name was denied, a student can appeal the decision by email to titleIX@esc.edu. Please include any additional relevant information as to why the denial reason does not apply to this case. For example, a student requesting a change involving a common derivative for gender-affirming reasons should appeal their case to the Title IX Coordinator.
For Employees Appealing a Denial for a Chosen Name
If a request for a chosen name was denied, an employee can appeal the decision by email to titleIX@esc.edu. Please include any additional relevant information as to why the denial reason does not apply to this case.
Related References, Policies, Forms and Appendices
- SUNY Empire Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy
- Discrimination Complaint Procedures
- Sexual Harassment Policy
- Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Policy
- Title IX Grievance Policy
- Student Conduct Policy and Procedures