Preferred Name Standards Update

GWC Statement on CCCD Name Standards

In August 2016 Coast Community College District adopted Name Standards, which serve and protect LGBTQ+, foster youth, survivors of domestic violence and abuse, undocumented students, and students from non-English backgrounds. In January 2021 legal first names began appearing on course rosters for the first time in 5 years, causing concern among faculty, staff, and students. Many people are currently working to reverse this change, and return to our award- winning Name Standards. Please see below for more information.

What are Name Standards?  

Coast Community College District (CCCD) and its three colleges – Coastline Community College, Golden West College, and Orange Coast College – recognize that many students and employees use first names that differ from their legal first names to identify themselves. Starting August 2016, CCCD students and employees can select their first name through the MySites (MyCCC, MyCOAST, MyGWC, and MyOCC).  

Where Did Preferred First Names Appear?

Starting August 2016, the first name submitted stands in place of the legal first name in the following areas: class rosters, course shells (Blackboard and Canvas), Scheduling And Reporting System (SARS), the online phone directory, and employee email addresses.  In certain locations, the legal name must still be used: Student Health Center, Financial Aid, EOPS/CARE/NextUp/Guardian Scholars, International Students, payroll records, transcripts (official and unofficial), and diplomas.

What Are the Benefits of the Name Standards?  

By allowing students and employees to self-identify, we:  

  • foster an environment of inclusion, respect, and dignity;
  • remove the anxiety that comes from students having to communicate first names that differ from their legal names to every instructor every semester;
  • promote safe and welcoming spaces at each of our colleges and at the District; and
  • comply with Title IX regulations presented in the May 2016 Dear Colleague Letter from the Office for Civil Rights.

How did the Name Standards Impact Faculty & Staff?  

  • Faculty did not need to update course rosters with students’ correct first names. Banner populated that information automatically.
  • If a student selected a first name that differed from their legal name after the start of a semester, the student’s first name could change on the roster.  However, the student ID number and last name would remain the same, so the student would still be easy to identify.
  • Employees in some campus offices had access to the preferred first name. When it was available, employees were encouraged to address the student or staff member by their preferred name instead of the legal name.
  • In campus offices where staff only have access to legal first names, employees were encouraged to consider creating a more inclusive environment by incorporating a short form on which students and staff could identify preferred first names, a brief verbal introduction in which all parties share their first names, and/or signage at the front desk reminding students and employees that this office only has access to the legal first name and that they may share their first names.

What happened?  

  • Because identity authentication is an accreditation requirement, faculty needed easier access to students’ legal names, for the rare cases when identity authentication is needed and the preferred name – along with the student ID number and student’s last name – are not enough. (Faculty already had the ability to have students’ legal names confirmed through Admissions and Records for identity authentication when needed, but this wasn’t known by all faculty.)
  • Administration took this GWC faculty request to District. 
  • Discussions were had at District, that also included OCC and CCC, regarding the faculty need for access to legal names.
  • GWC faculty learned in January 2021 that legal names were suddenly appearing on all rosters, and the GWC Academic Senate President communicated with the District to make it clear that this is not what faculty wanted and asked that legal names be removed from rosters before the spring semester began. 
  • In January, the three Academic Senate Presidents from OCC, GWC, and CCC began discussions regarding the faculty desire for easier access to legal names.
  • On February 23, 2021, the GWC Academic Senate approved a motion to “request immediate removal of legal names on class rosters and return to the past practice of preferred names. It was clarified that the motion was to return to past practice but that further discussions would be needed to address a solution for the faculty’s access to legal names.”  

What are we doing about it?  

  • The GWC Academic Senate hosted two conversations about this issue at their meetings on February 9, 2021, and February 23, 2021. 
  • At the first Senate meeting on February 9, 2021, Sacha Moore, District Coordinator of Equity, Inclusion, and Compliance, spoke on the history of Name Standards and why the current roster format is so damaging for students. 
  • At the second Senate meeting on February 23, 2021, Frank Cirioni, Director of Campus Life; Carla Martinez, Dean of Students; and Christina Ryan Rodriguez, Dean of Enrollment Services, spoke in favor of reinstating Name Standards. 
  • At the February 23 rd meeting, the GWC Academic Senate approved a formal motion to recommend that legal names be removed from all rosters as soon as possible .  
  • Several GWC student groups have been actively involved in educating the campus, advocating for the removal of legal names from rosters, and working with their counterparts across the District to correct this issue, and on March 19, 2021, the Associated Students of Golden West College (ASGWC) passed a resolution urging the CCCD to return to past practice of upholding Name Standards by removing legal names from course rosters and including students in upcoming discussions regarding how faculty may gain access to legal names when needed.
  • On March 24, 2021, the GWC Academic Senate voted to endorse the ASGWC resolution urging the CCCD to return to past practice of upholding Name Standards by removing legal names from course rosters, and to include students in upcoming discussions regarding how faculty may gain access to legal names when needed.
  • On April 30, 2021, the Chancellor sent an email notifying all employees and students the Coast District will return to its practice of only showing preferred (chosen) first names on class rosters for students who provided this information. This will be effective beginning May 20, 2021 in time for the summer term. Faculty who need to verify legal first names for education-related purposes will have a new, separate process available. ( Message available here.)

Final Statement

Golden West College values an environment of inclusion, respect, and dignity, and regrets the chain of events that led to the reversal of our District Name Standards.  GWC is sorry for any harm or offense that was caused and is grateful that we have reverted, as a District, to the  original Preferred Name Standards.  The campus has learned a valuable lesson in dealing with this issue and the key role that students play in the work of the college. GWC is committed to strengthening the lines of communication among all constituent groups.