MacEwan students permitted to change gender, name in university system

Students at MacEwan University are now permitted to change their name and gender through the university’s record-keeping system.

The change was made to suit students with gender pronouns and names to match their
current identity rather than the identity listed on birth certificates, according to a statement from the school. The move will help “empower” people to define their identity, the statement said.

Michelle Plouffe, vice-president (general counsel) of MacEwan, said in the statement that the change, which took effect on Feb. 27, is intended to “bring the university to a place of greater inclusion.”

MacEwan students can also update their gender identity to either male, female, or gender minority.

“It came about as part of some initiatives we’re working on to support gender and sexual
minorities, though it will benefit people who want to use a preferred name for other reasons as well,” Plouffe said in the statement. “Some students had raised concerns that the system made it difficult to change to their preferred name or gender marker. Their legal name would follow them throughout the system.”

Students attending MacEwan can update their preferred first and last name, including nicknames and middle names.

Carleton has the same policy as MacEwan, and has for some time, according to Smita Bharadia, acting director of Carleton University Equity Services.

“We also have the same policy here, and some the reasons . . .  are the very same as to why it was implemented at Carleton. There were focus groups with trans students and the [Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre] and their suggestions shaped our policy,” Bharadia said. “It was truly a collaborative process with IT, registrar’s office, housing, equity services, human resources, and other offices that worked on developing the preferred name policy.”

Carleton’s policy, implemented in 2015, allows students to use Carleton Central to change their preferred name, according to Equity Services’ website. Students can change their preferred name on their campus card, U-Pass, email address, MyCarletonOne account, cuLearn, class list and grading, and their audit results.

But legal names of Carleton students will still be used on any legal documentation,
such as tax receipts, transcripts, university credentials, T4s, or record of employment, according to Equity Services.

– Photo illustration by Angela Tilley