University students who go by a first name other than their legal one will now have the option to change their name in the student directory, University Registrar Polly Griffin announced in an email sent to the student body last week.
Under this new “preferred name policy,” the email explained, students may designate their “preferred” name in the directory through SCORE.
“As long as the use of this preferred name is not for the purposes of misrepresentation, the University acknowledges that a ‘preferred name’ can and should be used where possible in the course of University business and education,” Griffin stated in the email, adding, “We know that this feature is important to many students, and we are pleased to be able to offer this option.”
Griffin deferred comment to University spokesperson Martin Mbugua, who explained that the administration had been discussing this policy change over the past several months after receiving numerous requests from students who prefer a name other than their formal one. According to Mbugua, the decision was primarily driven by this student input, but he added that the University was also aware of the fact that a similar policy now exists at other institutions.
Mbugua explained that while students’ preferred first names will appear on class lists, advising rosters and the student directory, individuals’ real names will remain the same in the University’s legal records of students. He added that the choice of preferred first names is flexible.
“It’s a very personal preference,” he said. “There’s no specific guidelines for telling students what [name] to pick.”
While Mbugua stated that there has not yet been any “formal feedback” on the new policy, he reported that as of Wednesday, 456 undergraduates and 168 graduates had changed their preferred name.
Some students noted their excitement upon discovering that they now could indicate their preferred name in the directory. Trap Yates ’14 — whose legal name is Robert and who goes by a shortened form of his middle name, Trapagen — immediately logged into SCORE to change his name.
Yates is a former Street editor for The Daily Princetonian.
“I am passionately in favor of [the policy],” Yates said. “It’s just one of those quality of life things. It made the first 30 seconds of class easier when I didn’t have to explain to my professor why I go by Trap instead of Robert. That was wonderful.”