Chosen Name Policy

image of Current RWU students and staff in the Queer and Trans Resource and Advocacy Center in front of the trans pride flag
Current RWU students and staff in the Queer and Trans Resource and Advocacy Center in front of the trans pride flag.

The Policy

Roger Williams University recognizes that some current members of the campus community may prefer to identify themselves by a first name other than their legal first name. For this reason, the University provides students and employees with an opportunity to use a “Chosen Name” where possible in the course of University business and education.

Under Roger Williams University’s Chosen Name Policy, students and employees may designate a chosen or preferred first name in addition to the legal name. Individuals may request the use of a chosen name online via RogerCentral. In some instances, the University is legally required to use Legal Names. Such instances include but are not limited to official transcripts, enrollment/degree verifications, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), tax documents, payroll documents, and immigration documents. However, whenever reasonably possible the University will use Chosen Names.

The University reserves the right to remove a chosen name or deny the usage of a chosen name if the University determines at any time that it is inappropriate in nature.

Chosen names used as misrepresentation or fraud will be handled pursuant to University policies and procedures and may result in disciplinary action and/or referral to law enforcement.

Instructions on How to Update Your Chosen Name on Roger Central.

 

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  • Advisor/advisee lists
  • Class/grade rosters
  • Dean's List
  • Diploma (based on how the student completes their graduation application)
  • Email display name (by manually updating their display name through Google (students) or by connecting with IT (employees))
  • ID Card (by request in the ID office - free of charge)
  • Residence life rosters
  • University nametags
  • University business cards
  • Billing statements
  • National Student Clearinghouse/enrollment verification
  • Financial Aid documents
  • Immigration documents
  • Medical documents
  • Official correspondence with external entities
  • Official and unofficial transcripts
  • Paychecks/W2/1099T
  • Federal requests for information

Once an individual updates their Chosen Name using the form on Roger Central, you can have your Chosen Name reflected on your Student ID Card. At any point throughout the academic year, individuals can visit the ID Office on the Ground Level of the University Commons and have a new ID printed. Please note, Chosen Names only reflect a change to an individual's first name. In order for a student to change their last name, you must have proof of a legal name change.

The process for how to change one's legal name and/or gender marker varies from one state to the next. For an comprehensive list of requirements for how to change your legal name in your state of permanent residence, please visit the National Center for Transgender Equality's ID Documents Center.

Once a student has completed their legal name change and/or gender marker change, they should inform the University by completing the Change of Personal Information form through the University Registrar's Office. The student will need to provide official documentation to validate this change. Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Court order
  • Driver's License
  • Passport
  • Social Security card
  • Tax ID Number card

There are a variety of reasons why a student might need to change their chosen or their legal name. The list campus of campus resources provided below can help students navigate the both of the name change processes for concerns of gender equity, immigration needs, or religious needs:

  • Gabby Porcaro (she/her/hers), Assistant Director of Queeer and Trans Student Initiatives
    • If you are beginning your legal transition process, please connect with Gabby  by sending her an email at gporcaro@rwu.edu. She can help to connect you with free legal services throughout the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts to facilitate the process.
    • Located in the Queer and Trans Resource and Advocacy Center (Near Maple 9/10/11 Tower)
  • Cassidy Hammond (she/her/hers), Assistant Director of International Student and Scholar Initiatives
    • If you are an international student and would like to update your chosen or legal name with the university, please contact Cassidy Hammond, chammond@rwu.edu, for assistance.  This will ensure that your immigration status and government paperwork is in order. 
    • Located in the Intercultural Center (Maple Hall - 0)

The spirit of Title IX at Roger Williams, embracing the Student Code of Conduct policies related to gender equity, would protect trans students against discriminatory and/or harassing behavior. If it is evident that someone is intentionally creating a hostile environment for a trans student by not accommodating a Chosen Name as outlined by the University's policy, it may be determined a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and/or the University Sexual Harassment policy. If the behavior doesn’t rise to the level of harassment as defined by the University policy, the Title IX Office, as well as the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, can assist in providing support and seeking informal remedies to stop unwanted or inappropriate behavior. Our Title IX Coordinator is Jen Stanley (she/her/hers), jstanley@rwu.edu, and our Student Conduct Director is Diana Proto (she/her/hers), dproto@rwu.edu.