Preferred name policy to see resolution passed this fall


Changing ones name can cost around $200 and take months to complete. Many students do not have the resources to do so.

Members of OUSC are working on a proposal for a new policy that would allow transgender students to change their name on class documents and on their diplomas.

At the helm of this proposal are students Anders Engnell, the Diversity and Inclusion Director, and Sam Abbot, the Student Services Director.

“Transgender students are the most underrepresented students on campus”, Engnell said, “The policy would prevent students from being ‘outted’ in class or on the graduation stage”.

Engness explained that a student who is transgender could be presenting as a gender that doesn’t correlate with their birth name. For example, someone assigned female at birth but presented as male would be forced out of the closet when his teacher refers to him with a feminine name.

To prevent this, OUSC is proposing a plan to allow students to log into MySail and enter their preferred name without having to go through the legal challenge of changing their name.

“Students should know Oakland is catering to the LGBTQIA+ community, and know that they should feel at home and know they have options,” Abbot said.

The biggest challenge, according to Engnell, is that there is a rumor circulating calling this plan a “Nickname Policy.”

But according to Engnell, this isn’t the intended use of the policy. It is designed specifically for transgender students to use to preserve their safety and comfort on campus.

OUSC has yet to talk to campus administrators to tell them the cost that is necessary. Abbot and Engness said that their goal is to affect the perspective of those within the campus community, including students and administration alike.

“The draft is one-fourth of the way completed,” Abbot said “and the resolution should pass by the end of the fall semester. After that, it’s all dependent on how the campus administrators react.”

Engnell also explained numerous ways in which students can get involved in getting the idea into a full-fledged resolution. He encouraged students to spread the word, and talk to their OUSC representatives about what they would like to see the plan include.

Engnell pointed out that students may not know this, but they can email their administrators and generate conversation that way.

OUSC legislator Zach Thomas has also been proposing a plan to allow students to select an option on their applications saying that they are transgender.

Engnell explained that this would allow students who are transgender to know the university is thinking of their best interests. OUSC has said that they would be able to track how many transgender students stay on campus for the duration of their college career, and allow them to have an easier time changing their name in the school roster.

Abbot also said that students can get involved with the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), the campus LGBTQIA+ organization, or the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC), the campus administration office for LGBTQIA+ students.