Cal Poly Pomona students have welcomed a BroncoDirect feature first introduced last spring that allows them to change their preferred name and pronouns online through their Student Center. The change, made by the university’s Registrar’s Office, has garnered positive feedback from its users according to CPP’s Pride Center.
Students who take advantage of the feature will have their preferred name and pronouns displayed not only on BroncoDirect but in other areas such as class rosters, their CPP email address and Blackboard.
Jay Jaramillo is a non-binary fifth-year student studying psychology. Jaramillo’s pronouns are they/them. Before the option was implemented, Jaramillo had to email all their professors about their preferred name and pronouns.
“I felt ‘othered’… like I had to go the extra mile just to get the same rights and respect as everybody else,” Jaramillo said. “With online classes, there was no way to change my display name on Blackboard. If I had to go to a discussion board or send an email through Blackboard, I would always see my birth name. There was no way to change it, and that was really hard for me to look at a lot.”
Jaramillo was informed by Alex Madva, an associate professor in the philosophy department, that they could make all those changes through BroncoDirect. Jaramillo was grateful for the feature because they could finally communicate their pronouns stress-free and privately.
“I didn’t need to out myself or ‘other’ myself in order to just have my name right,” Jaramillo said. “That type of stress, I think, feels kind of exclusive to non-binary people. Being non-binary, there is no way I can live without being put in either a man or woman category. When I say my pronouns, that is something that needs to be said at work, school and anywhere else that I am.”
Jaramillo credits Madva for not only understanding Jaramillo’s predicament but helping them to officially make the changes through BroncoDirect.
Madva strongly believes that the university can do more to communicate to students that they have these options. He suggests that CPP should remind students of the option by frequently emailing students about their current name and pronouns in their records and whether they would like to update them. Madva appreciates CPP’s efforts and hopes they continue to publicize this option.
“It is absolutely easier to remember people’s preferred names and pronouns if it’s explicitly listed in as many platforms as possible: BroncoDirect, Blackboard, Zoom, and so on,” Madva said. “I’ve noticed that many students don’t use their preferred names even in synchronous Zoom sessions. I think we can all do more to create new norms and habits where everyone feels free to share their preferred names and pronouns.”
CPP Pride Center Coordinator Bri Serrano has received positive feedback from students regarding the feature’s addition. While he cannot speak for the entire CPP LBGTQ community, he believes it means greater visibility from faculty and staff to create a better climate for LGBTQ students on campus.
“It is important that students should not have to do additional labor than their peers that are cis-gender do not have to do,” Serrano said. “There should be systems in place for all students to be affirmed and valued for their authentic selves.”
Students can log onto MyCPP, access the Student Center and then proceed to the Personal Information Section to make these changes. The request can take up to three business days, but students will be notified once the changes have been made. Students’ legal names will stay on official documents such as transcripts.
The information is also available on the website for the office of Equity and Compliance that manages discrimination issues.
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