Rowan University implements preferred name policy

NEW JERSEY (WTXF) School officials at one local university are taking new measures to make sure students are being identified how they want to be.

Joel Vazquez is excited about the "preferred name policy" that officials at Rowan University recently put in place. Joel was born male but doesn't identify as male or female but instead as a "gender non-conforming person."

"It means so very much to me to know that my professors and faculty alike and students will respect my pronouns and preferred names," Joel told FOX 29.

Students and staff received an email blast from the university about the new policy. 

Officials say they want to "enable members of the university community including students, faculty and staff to use and be known by a preferred name that affirms, reflects and/or expresses their gender, culture and or other aspects of their social identity in the classroom."

"It's being effective now on student IDs, on the blackboard which is something we use for homework and on the class role system," Joel explained.

The policy also allows staff to use pronouns like they, them and theirs when addressing specific individuals.

"I think it's very important to lift that stigma, 'Hey it's ok if your pronouns are different than are assigned at birth,'" said Joel.

Other students on campus support the policy including those who say it doesn't apply to them.

"It's so important to just share that knowledge because we're all diverse," said Joel.

There haven’t been any incidents that led to the new policy. Just like the university has gender neutral bathrooms, it’s another proactive measure it says to prevent harassment, bullying and possible violence. The university calls it a commitment to diversity. The policy also covers students who want a name change for cultural or religious reasons.



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