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Chosen Name FAQs

As Vassar works to build the most affirming campus we can, we are writing to announce the launch of a Chosen Name system. This system will allow any Vassar community member to choose a first and/or last name other than their legal name, and have that name used in as many ways and places as possible.

Why Chosen Name?

For community members who are international, whose marital status changes, who identify as Transgender, who may use a use a different name professionally…or who have many other reasons should be able to be called and identified by the name they choose. While the policy was initially developed under the Preferred Name, ‘Preferred’ gives the impression that it is an option.

Groups across campus have been working on this need for some time. The last year has been focused on identifying solutions to anticipated challenges. Legal advice was sought and helped resolve many questions. Additional work has been done with small groups to further identify and address concerns.


What exactly has been implemented?

By logging into and visiting the Profile Page, Vassar community members can now change their Chosen Name. This will then update across Vassar systems, including most things that are not considered “legal documents” as well as a few other areas the college determines the legal name is most appropriate.

The Chosen Name will display in systems including GMail, the online campus directory, Moodle, and class lists. Documents that will continue to use the Legal Name include things such as payroll, financial aid documents, licenses, and HR/personnel documents (for faculty, staff and administrators). After making a Chosen Name change, an updated photo ID can be requested by visiting the CIS Service Desk.

Can any member of the Vassar College community set a chosen name?

Any student, faculty, staff or administrator may opt to set a chosen name.

Can I set my chosen name to whatever I want?

Yes, but the College reserves the right to remove a chosen name if it is inappropriate.

Can I use my chosen name for everything at Vassar College?

No. Your legal name will continue to be used in business processes that require use of the legal name, such as all external reports and documents including, but not limited to, paychecks, accounts payable checks, student billing, and tax forms.

Where will my chosen name display?

Students: Chosen name will display in the campus directory, class lists, faculty grading, advisee lists, Vassar GMail and Moodle. Email searches and display names (gmail profiles) use chosen name.   

Faculty: Chosen name will display in the campus directory, class lists, grade reports, course schedules, Vassar GMail and Moodle. Email searches and display names (gmail profiles) use chosen name.  

Staff and Administrators: Chosen name will display in the campus directory, Vassar GMail and Moodle.  Email searches and display names (gmail profiles) use chosen name.   

How do I get my chosen name on my College Photo ID?

Visit the CIS Card Office to request a College Photo ID with your chosen name. Your College Photo ID is not a legal form of identification. Carry your driver’s license or other legal identification when you leave campus or need to provide legal identification.

How do I correct or change my legal name?

The process for changing your legal name varies by state and country of residence and reason for the change. It is not something that is done at the College. If you have pursued a legal name change at the state or federal level, please bring legal documentation to the offices listed below so that the College can update your record. U.S. residents must change their names with the Social Security Administration as well.

Students: Submit legal documentation to the registrar's office. In addition, student employees must submit an updated I-9 form to the financial aid office.

Faculty and Staff: Submit legal documentation to the Office of Human Resources.

Who will have access to my legal name?

Select administrative staff, Campus Safety employees and, if you’re employed by the College, your supervisor(s) will have access to both your legal and chosen name. The LGBTQ Center will provide regular training for key administrative staff about the use of chosen names and the importance of treating transgender individuals with respect, especially when referencing their legal names in conducting campus business. 

I am an incoming student and I submitted a chosen name on my application. Do I need to submit a chosen name again?

Yes. The Office of Admission uses the name provided on your Common Application to communicate with you during the admission process. After you submit your Vassar College enrollment form, you will have an opportunity to set a chosen name through IAM. Your chosen name in IAM is the name that you will be known by to the College community. Until that time, or if you do not choose to set a chosen name through IAM, your legal name will be used.