Preferred Name Policy

Policy on Preferred First Names

Policy Update (12.16.2020)

Otis College of Art and Design is committed to fostering an inclusive campus that values self-expression and respect for the variety of communities it serves. The college recognizes that many students, faculty, and staff choose to use a preferred first name rather than a legal name whenever a legal name is not absolutely necessary, limited by technology, or required by law.

At Otis College, students may update their preferred name in Student Self Service. Otis College reserves the right to remove or deny the preferred first name if used inappropriately. This includes, but is not limited to, names using foul or inappropriate language, names submitted to avoid a legal obligation, and names used to create misrepresentation.

Must everyone indicate a preferred first name?

No. Using a preferred first name is entirely optional. If your legal first name is the name that you prefer to use, you do not need to do anything at all.

In which Otis College documents will the preferred first name be used?

A preferred first name will appear on the following records and documents:

  • Class Rosters -A student’s name will be displayed as Legal Last Name, Preferred First Name
  • Otis College Identification/OneCard
  • The Nest
  • Degree Works
  • Otis College assigned email addres

Your email address will be the first initial of your legal first name along with your legal last name. The name that appears to recipients of your emails will be your preferred first name and legal last name. For example, William < Andrea > Smiths’ email address will be but the name appearing as the sender will be Andrea Smiths.

While Otis College is committed to expanding its use of preferred first names, here are examples in which a legal first name will currently be used due to technology limitations and/or legal requirements:

  • Academic Records including transcripts (both official and unofficial)
  • Self Service
  • Financial Aid and Scholarship Documents
  • Any legal document produced by the University

Using a preferred first name when addressing faculty, staff and students:

When addressing other members of our community (including students, faculty, and staff) please use their preferred first names in all oral and written communications, except on documents that require a legal name or when technology limitations make it impossible.

Faculty and staff are asked to refer to each student by their preferred first name (as indicated on the class roster and OneCard) at all times, including when taking attendance, grading work, calling on a student in class, talking with the student directly, discussing the student with others, and when sending the student an email.

What if I don’t know someone’s preferred first name?

Ask. Asking shows that you respect another person’s choice.

What if someone uses my legal name when addressing me, but I want them to use my preferred first name?

If someone mistakenly addresses you by your legal name, simply remind them that you wish to be addressed by your preferred first name.

What if I have legally changed my legal name?

Students who have changed their legal name should contact the Registration Office and be prepared to submit documentation showing proof of a legal name change.

Faculty and staff should contact Human Resources for more information.