Across the University of California, students, staff and faculty have advocated for changes to make UC more equitable and inclusive. In a significant step toward this goal, President Michael V. Drake, M.D., has announced a new presidential policy to ensure that all individuals are identified by their accurate gender identity and lived or preferred name on university-issued documents and in UC’s information systems.
“The University of California continues to fully embrace diversity in our country,” said UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D. “We believe this policy is a step toward an even more inclusive community and, in turn, will help build a stronger, more vibrant society.”
The policy requires UC to provide:
- At least three equally recognized gender options in university information systems — woman, man and nonbinary.
- An efficient process for current students, faculty and staff, and for UC alumni and affiliates, to retroactively amend their gender designations and lived or preferred names on university-issued documents, including eligible academic documents, and in information systems.
In a presentation before the UC Regents in May of last year, UC staff and students shared the profound impact of policies and procedures that have not centered the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people. For example, because of a lack of clarity about UC policy, identification cards provided by some locations are issued in an individual’s legal name, rather than preferred or lived name.
“I regularly get pulled aside and interrogated at the library, gym or any other place I need to use my ID card. The appearance of my dead name on my ID card makes everyday transactions insufferable. … I spend my whole day working out how I can avoid these interactions,” explained shawndeez jadalizadeh, a Ph.D. candidate in UCLA's Department of Gender Studies.
As Dr. Shaun Travers, director of the UC San Diego LGBT Resource Center, explained to the Board of Regents, “’Dead name’ is the term our community uses when a person’s legal name is used instead of their preferred name. It is so impactful, they describe it as their dead name.”
UC’s clear policy requiring identification by a lived or preferred name will relieve a substantial burden on many members of the UC community, including but not limited to individuals who are transgender, whose gender identity differs from that indicated on official documents, who are survivors of abuse and/or trafficking, whose lived or preferred name is a variation or a shortened version of their legal name or those who have married and have had a legal name change but wish to retain the name under which they publish academic works.
“Our new policy culminates from a collaborative process that reflects valuable input from the Academic Senate, LGBTQ Resource Center directors, students and hundreds of other stakeholders,” said Yvette Gullatt, vice president and vice provost for Graduate, Undergraduate and Equity Affairs. “I’d like to thank all those who contributed to solidifying this critical policy.”
UCPath already offers nonbinary gender identity and preferred name options. Under the new policy, these options will be extended to all UC documents and information systems.
The implementation of this policy officially began on Nov. 6, 2020, the day it was issued, and full implementation of the policy and procedures must be completed no later than December 31, 2023. Additional details will be provided as they are available.