To foster a campus environment that is inclusive and that encourages self-expression, Dickinson has established a policy whereby any current student or employee may use a preferred or chosen first name on campus. We strive to have this name used wherever a legal name is not necessary. 

Preferred or Chosen First Name Use Policy:

Dickinson recognizes that faculty, staff and students may use names other than their legal name to identify themselves. These may include, but are not limited to, people who use their middle name instead of their first name, people who use nicknames of a legal name, people who use an anglicized name, or people who use a name that affirms their gender identity. 

It is the policy of the college that students, faculty, staff, and administrators may use whatever preferred or chosen first name they want, regardless of whether they have legally changed their name, except where their legal names are required by law, industry standard or strong business need.

The use of a preferred or chosen name cannot be for illegal purposes.


Systems using Preferred or Chosen Name 

The college administration will begin working as early as June 1, 2017 to implement preferred first name use on college information systems, reports, and processes. It is important that you review and update your preferred first name before this time. 

This will be a phased implementation with a goal to have select systems using preferred first name by September 2017. A list of updated systems is provided here.


The policy uses the language of both “Preferred” and “Chosen” names. Both terms describe the intent of this initiative. A person may prefer to be known by a shortened name or a nickname. Alternatively, a person may choose to be known by a different name. The FAQs below use the term “preferred name” or “preferred name use,” so whether you choose a different name or prefer a nickname, we will refer to it as preferred name.

Frequently asked questions:

  1. Can anyone select a preferred name?
  2. Do I have to specify a preferred name?
  3. How do I submit a preferred name request?
  4. Can I use my preferred name for everything at Dickinson College? 
  5. Where will my preferred name appear?
  6. When will my preferred name show up in the campus directory or my class rosters?
  7. Will professors receive a notification of my name change?
  8. Can I change my preferred name to whatever I want?
  9. How do I delete my preferred name?
  10. How do I change or correct my legal name at Dickinson College?
  11. Does changing my preferred name automatically update my Dickinson username and email address? 
  12. Will my preferred name appear on my Dickinson College ID card?
  13. How does the preferred name policy affect F-1 & J-1 visa students? 
  14. I have more questions about the Preferred or Chosen Name Use policy. Whom do I contact?

1. Can anyone select a preferred name?
Yes. This option is available for all current students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
 
2. Do I have to specify a preferred name?
No, you do not have to specify a preferred name. This is an option for people who wish to use a name other than their legal name to identify themselves. If you use your legal name, you do not need to specify a preferred name.
 
3. How do I submit a preferred name request?
Current students and employees can view and request a preferred first name by using the “College Name Registration” widget on their Gateway home page.   
  
4. Can I use my preferred name for everything at Dickinson College?
Dickinson College will strive to use your preferred name where possible, but your legal name will continue to be used in business and other processes that require use of a legal name. Examples of where your legal name is necessary include but are not limited to the following.

  • Financial Aid documents
  • Payroll
  • Billing records
  • Medical records
  • Federal Immigration documents
  • Non-Resident Visas and supporting documentation
  • Tax forms (i.e. W2, 1095C, 1099s)
  • Checks and direct deposit files issued by Accounts Payable
  • Student loan documents

Dickinson College’s implementation of the Preferred or Chosen Name Use policy began in the summer of 2017. The goal of the implementation is to provide a consistent name experience across all college information systems and services. We strive to use your selected preferred name everywhere, except where legally necessary. Full implementation of this policy is ongoing as new information systems and services are added each year.  

5. Where will my preferred name appear?

We strive to have your preferred name appear wherever legal name is not required. As we transition our information systems and processes to use preferred name, we will list them here

6. When will my preferred name show up in the campus directory or my class rosters?

Beginning in September 2017, you may expect your preferred name to be displayed within two weeks of submission.

7. Will professors receive a notification of my name change?

No.  Your preferred name will display in the CLIQ Class Roster within 2 weeks of submission. 

8. Can I change my preferred name to whatever I want?  

We trust the members of the Dickinson community to choose preferred names after careful consideration, with good intentions, and with the community’s best interests in mind. We don’t anticipate having to deny a name change request or remove a preferred name. However, we do reserve the right to reject inappropriate requests and to remove preferred names with or without notice. 

We cannot give an exhaustive account of which uses or names would be inappropriate, but we can illustrate the idea with a few examples. Name changes may not be used to avoid legal obligations or for illegal purposes. Names requested should not include offensive or derogatory language. The purpose of the preferred name policy is to foster a campus environment that is inclusive and that encourages self-expression; we expect to approve all name changes that do not contravene this purpose. 

If you would like to speak with someone to determine whether use of a preferred name is right for your needs, please contact Erica Lawrence (lawrener@dickinson.edu), director of the Office of LGBTQ Service.

9. How do I delete my preferred name? 

If you are a current student or employee who has submitted a preferred first name and later decide that you would prefer to use your legal first name or a different preferred first name everywhere on campus, you may delete your preferred first name.

Current students and employees can delete a preferred first name by using the “College Name Registration” widget on their Gateway home page. Click the “Remove Name” button on the “College Name Registration” form.

10. How do I change or correct my legal name at Dickinson College?

If you are a current student, visit the Registrar’s website for information about changing your legal name.
 
If you are an employee, visit the Human Resource Services website for information about changing your legal name or other personal information.

You will need to provide appropriate documentation.  

11. Does changing my preferred first name automatically update my Dickinson username and email address?  
 
No. If you would like to use your preferred first name as the basis for your username, please contact the LIS Helpdesk.
 
Changing your username may have an impact on your ability to use Dickinson computing resources while your new username is synchronized across all campus information systems and services. Upon request, the LIS help desk can provide more information on the process of changing your username.

12. Will my preferred name appear on my Dickinson College ID card?

Cards issued after August 1, 2017 will have the preferred name printed on the front of the Dickinson College ID card.

In order for your preferred first name to appear on your ID card, you must have already indicated your preferred first name in Gateway. Note that the processing of your preferred first name request may take two weeks.

Visit the card office to request a replacement ID with your preferred name. The standard fee for ID card replacement will apply. 

Your Dickinson College ID card is not a legal form of identification. Carry your driver’s license or other legal identification when you leave campus or need to provide legal identification.  
 
13. How does the preferred name policy affect F-1 & J-1 visa students?

Preferred name is for use within the college community. International students may feel free to select a preferred first name for on-campus use. However, this does not apply in situations where one’s legal name is required. For the purpose of F-1 or J-1 student visa status, the legal name is required on I-20s and DS-2019s. An individual’s legal name is what appears in the passport.

14. I have more questions about the Preferred Name Policy. Who do I contact?

Erica Lawrence, director of the Office of LGBTQ Services, will assist in answering questions about the Preferred or Chosen Name Use policy. She can be reached at lawrener@dickinson.edu.
 
For issues with your preferred name appearing in any information system or service, please contact the LIS help desk.