University of California Davis has put in place a new preferred name service option for students. The school joins a group of American universities which have enacted preferred name policies for their students, including Princeton, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Michigan, Stony Brook University, among others.
This policy, which will take effect May 27, may have particular significance for international students and students who want their name to be reflective of their gender identity. The UC Davis Police Department has also established a similar policy. Their policy states that preferred first names may be used on campus as long as they are not used for misrepresentation, and tells officers to interact with people using their preferred names to respect gender identity and expression.
"I saw a willingness and sensitivity on this campus to be open and inclusive that truly impressed me,” Amy Kautzman, associate director of academic services for the University Library, told Dateline UC Davis, the school's online news site for faculty and staff. She has supported the preferred name initiative for two years now, involving almost 20 departments. “UC Davis is special in how much the administrative staff care about improving our students’ experience,” she said.
GLAAD encourages other universities to follow the example of respect for all students that these institutions are setting.