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Preferred NameUSSS-15


This policy applies to all faculty, staff, and students of Indiana University. 

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Policy Statement

Indiana University recognizes that faculty, staff, and students may use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. Except when the use of an individual’s legal (or primary) name is required by law or policy, individuals will be identified in Indiana University systems and procedures by the preferred name that they have designated in accordance with this policy.

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Reason for Policy

Many members of the IU community use a name that differs from their legal name (listed as “primary name” in university data systems). These may include individuals who prefer to use:

  • a middle name instead of a first name;
  • an anglicized name;
  • a name to which the individual is in the process of legally changing;
  • a name that better represents the individual’s gender identity; or
  • a stage or performance name.

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A person seeking to adopt a preferred name that is different from his or her legal name must certify that the preferred name is or will be actually used to identify him- or herself.

IU will not accept a preferred name that is vulgar, offensive, obscene or fanciful, creates confusion of the individual with another person, or otherwise constitutes misuse or abuse as defined in this policy. The use of a preferred name cannot be used for the purpose of misrepresentation and must otherwise comply with IU policies, including the Student Code of Conduct. The campus registrar will determine if a student’s preferred name is appropriate under these criteria.

University Issued Identification Cards
A person’s preferred name will be printed on his or her IU identification card. Persons who are issued cards with a preferred name that is different from their legal names should be cautioned that such cards are issued for the purpose of university business only, and that identification cards issued by Indiana University are not considered government issued identification for purposes such as air travel.

Faculty, staff or students who update their preferred name after being issued an identification card can request a replacement card. Faculty, staff or students who request replacement identification cards should be advised that appropriate charges may apply.

Systems and Processes
Indiana University utilizes multiple systems to manage its operations and processes. Where appropriate university systems should be modified to display only the preferred name. Instances in which a primary name is required include, but are not limited to, financial aid forms, tax forms, university transcripts, and health records.
Since faculty, staff and students will be able to update their preferred names at any time throughout the year in the main enterprise systems (KFS, HRMS, and SIS), other university systems that are dependent on data that is primarily stored in the enterprise systems must be refreshed on a regular, scheduled basis as much as practicable.

Systems, forms and processes that collect and/or use student information should be updated to allow the use of preferred names of students.

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Preferred name - A preferred name is defined as an alternative to the individual’s legal name as designated by the individual in university systems.

Legal name – A person’s legal name is the name they use for official governmental documents, such as licenses, passports, and tax forms.

Primary name – A person’s legal name.

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Indiana University will handle reports of misuse and abuse of both preferred names and primary names in accordance with existing policies and procedures issued by appropriate authorities. Depending on the individual and circumstances involved this could include the offices of Human Resources, Vice Provost or Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs (or campus equivalent), Dean of Students (or campus equivalent), Office of the General Counsel, and/or appropriate law enforcement agencies.

The university also reserves the right to remove preferred names that are deemed misrepresentative and suspend the individual’s privilege to update their preferred name.

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This policy was established in 2015.

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