UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Student Handbook

Preferred Name Policy and Pronouns

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls will begin implementation of the Preferred Name Policy in September 2017. The goal of the Preferred Name Policy is a consistent preferred name experience across university systems and use of one's preferred name wherever a legal name is not absolutely necessary. The university's infrastructure is multi-faceted and complex so there are still some systems where the implementation of preferred name will be forthcoming.

Preferred First and Middle Name Background

The preferred first and/or middle name policy allows students to indicate their preferred first and/or middle name to the university community regardless of whether they have legally changed their name.

Policy

The university recognizes that many of its students may use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls that any student may choose to identify themselves within the university community with a preferred first and/or middle name that differs from their legal name. As long as the use of the preferred first and/or middle name is not for the purpose of misrepresentation, it will appear instead of the person’s legal name in university related systems and documents except where the use of the legal name is required by university business or legal need.

For additional information regarding polices and procedures about preferred names, consult the Registrar's Office.

Gender Pronouns

Within the UWRF community we want to create a safe and welcoming environment where questioning is okay. When our trans and gender non-conforming students see our campus and community partners asking and using other people's pronouns correctly, it shows them that we are supportive. It also shows them that as a community we acknowledge their existence. We create a space that validates them. Using someone's incorrect pronouns can "out" someone (expose them as trans or gender non-conforming) in a situation that may be very unsafe.

Asking someone their pronouns is like asking their name. It is a way to be respectful when addressing them. We usually take pronouns - the small third-person words we use to refer to other people like, "he," "her," and "theirs" - for granted. Still, nearly all of us are taken aback whenever someone refers to us by an incorrect pronoun. This is especially true for transgender and gender non-conforming people, who frequently view pronouns as indicative of whether the user is respecting their gender identity.

The university recognizes that many of its students may use various pronouns to identify themselves. As of January 2020, you can designate your personal pronouns in Canvas.

For additional information regarding gender pronouns, identity, and other related resources, consult the center of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.