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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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    Preferred Names and Pronouns Feature Added to Stan State Student Portals

    Warrior+Cross+Cultural+Center%2C+located+on+the+second+floor+of+the+campus+library.+%28Signal+Photo%2FMorley+Brown%29

    Warrior Cross Cultural Center, located on the second floor of the campus library. (Signal Photo/Morley Brown)

    At the start of this month, CSU Stanislaus’s Enrollment Services updated the Student Portal to include preferred names and pronouns of students. 
    On Feb. 4, enrollment services sent out a student-wide email with the update, a contact phone number, and links to step-by-step instructional guidelines: “Preferred Names Guide” and “Preferred Pronouns Guide.” For students, the changes can be made on their myStanState Student Center under the personal information section. Students can expect to add their preferred name along with the options of the pronouns, she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs, ze/hir/hirs, or self-indicated pronouns. 
    This addition has helped promote recognition of gender diversity on campus, according to Adrian Tennant (senior, Communication Studies), who works with the Warrior Cross Cultural Center, specifically the Male Success Initiative
    “I think that it’s helpful just for the sense of cultural awareness and also for gender identity awareness,” he said. “I think it’s a space for students to feel more comfortable, like, just living in their own skin. It’s just not as inclusive without it.” 
    This step in recognizing inclusivity and diversity on campus has been met with positive responses from students. Keilin Archie (sophomore, Music) a member of Chi Alpha, recognized that this is a big step up from the administration.
    “Being able to say ‘I know that you see me’ speaks to the building of community and inclusivity on campus,” he said.
    A lot has changed since Chi Alpha member Nailow Martinez (alumna, Political Science) attended the university, but she sees more people fighting to have their voices heard. She herself has had a positive experience contacting administration members.
    “President Junn is doing an amazing job at listening to students’ needs and concerns,” she said.  
    As faculty members across the University already ask for students to indicate their preferred names and pronouns on classroom sources such as Canvas and Zoom, having the administration incorporate this adds to the mission of inclusive diversity.
    Ashlea “Ash” Rosenberg (sophomore, Liberal Studies) said that it is important for students to feel validated in regards to their identity. 
    “I genuinely appreciate it, I’m not going to lie, It’s very nice knowing that you can be valid without worrying about other people’s judgment. It’s in the little things,” Rosenberg said. 
    This feature has affected campus culture positively overall as it offers an opportunity for people to express themselves and acknowledging the broad diversity on campus. 
    Math department faculty member Dr. Jessica De Silva also dedicated her time working with the LGTBQ+ Mentorship Program. As an instructor, De Silva already incorporates asking students for their preferred names and pronouns through a Get-to-Know-Me survey.
    “This change happening at an institutional level brings more awareness to campus diversity,” she said.
    Early in her teaching career, De Silva remembers a student who identified as non-binary and had a different preferred name than what was on the course roster. She added that being exposed to the importance of student identity early on made her appreciate being trained beforehand to ask for this information.  
    While this is a step, many believe that there is still room to develop. As students receive numerous emails throughout the day from their professors, student services, and safety announcements, announcements often get buried, De Silva added.
    Speaking on behalf of Kappa Sigma, Brian Duarte (senior, Sociology) said that they would like to see the new addition in practice with professors using the information to correctly identify students in their classes.
    Promoting this new feature is also a perceived challenge from students and faculty. As De Silva noted, having just the one email sent to students can make it easily forgotten or left unread. Ideas to promote the feature include being brought up at New Student or New Faculty Orientation, where students can spend time adding their information or for faculty to encourage students to complete it within the first weeks of classes. Another suggestion from students was to put an announcement on the student portal that can be seen upon logging in.
    “[I] wish it was done a long time ago but it’s a step forward in the right direction” explained De Silva. “This new feature is recognized as a major step forward in addressing student diversity from the administration.
    “I think it’s really interesting that we are finally able to do this and kind of move up with the times,” Duarte added. “It is a collective effort from students and faculty to voice the changes they want to see on campus and to continue improving upon the inclusivity of campus culture.”
    Enrollment Services has provided a number to call (209) 667-3265 as well as the Preferred Name FAQ site for students with further questions.

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    Preferred Names and Pronouns Feature Added to Stan State Student Portals