District allows students to use preferred names on college records

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Los Rios students can use their preferred names in addition to their legal ones this semester.

The change, which Public Information Officer Kristie West said was adopted by the district in the spring, will allow students to use their preferred names on documents and records such as class rosters, eServices, Canvas and their student ID.

“It’s really important because it’s the students’ identity,” English Professor Heidi Emmerling said.

Media organization GLAAD suggests not asking what a transgender person’s “real name” is in an article about tips for allies of transgender people.

“For some transgender people, being associated with their birth name is a tremendous source of anxiety,” the article said.

Nikki Jones, a 41-year-old music major, said that while she is not transgender, it was always a hassle for her to be referred to by her legal name when she goes by a different name.

“Now, I have the ability from the district to go by the name I identify myself as,” Jones said.

Jones also said she thinks the district should be doing more to let students know they can use names they prefer over their legal name.

Emmerling, however, said she’s liking what the district is doing overall.

“I’m seeing a good effort by our district and I see a lot of inclusion on campus,” Emmerling said.

Emmerling said she adds “they/them” to her email signature to let students know that they can also use the pronouns. She said the singular use of “they” has been accepted for years, adding that only “strict grammarians” have a problem with using the pronoun for a singular person.

“The argument is ‘they’ includes the ‘he’ or ‘she’ better,” Emmerling said. 

We encourage students to bring their complete selves to campus.”

— Colette Harris-Matthews

Similarly, Colette Harris-Matthews, the dean of the Elk Grove Center and Automotive Mechanics Technology, also uses they/them in her email signature.

Harris-Mathews said that all students who come to campus should be honored.

“We encourage students to bring their complete selves to campus,” Harris-Matthews said.

Ultimately, Jones said it’s important for faculty to use their students’ preferred names and pronouns. 

“If you have respect, you are more willing to ask for assistance,” Jones said.

To change your preferred name, log in to eServices, click on the “Profile” tile, select the “Preferred” line, update your information and click the green “Save” button.

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