Western University to allow students to choose preferred first names on unofficial university records

A motion passed by Western University's senate will allow students to choose their preferred first names on unofficial Western records. Screenshot/Google Maps

A motion passed by Western University’s senate last month will allow students to choose their preferred first names on unofficial Western records.

The issue of having one legal first name while identifying with another was brought forward by students, particularly from LGBTQ2+ and international student communities, according to the university.

“We recognize that many students don’t go by their legal names, whether it be their middle names or someone like myself, a second-generation Korean student who goes by Danny instead of my legal first name,” said student council vice-president Danny Chang.

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Chang said students will be able to use different first names on their ONECards, UWO email addresses, class lists and OWL, preventing awkward situations that many students face.

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“This is definitely a solution to help students avoid the unnecessary awkwardness that can come from day-to-day life on campus,” he explained.

He said the conversation about allowing students to use their preferred first names has been going on for a while but heated up in the summer of 2018.

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“It wasn’t simply a matter of not following through with this, but rather the technical limitations that our previous software presented.”

Chang says long-term discussions between the registrar’s office and the USC over technical limitations resulted in a software upgrade in November, making the initiative possible.

He adds official documents and records will continue to display legal names, while further details will become available on Feb. 15 at the Registrar’s office.

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