ASCC Senate discuss incoming preferred name change policy

Jenny Gonzalez

Cerritos College is currently in the process of creating a policy that will implement a new system for those that have preferred names.

The question whether the preferred name of a student should be on legal documents or not was up for discussion at ASCC Senate at the March, 29 meeting.

Many questions were asked, and while Director of Diversity and Compliance and Title IX Coordinator, Valyncia Raphael presented the item on the agenda, the senators discussed the importance of privacy and safety.

Raphael said she thinks the senators brought up a really good point because there are factors she didn’t think about like OrgSync and how that will affect the communication platform the clubs on campus use.

Senator Ryan Kang said he appreciated the fact that Raphael asked the Senate body’s input because this is a student body issue.

He prefers the ability to be private about what personal information students choose to give out, stating in an email he sent to her, “Preferred names and only preferred names should apply to non-essential items […] [while] legal documents, transcripts and school records, because they are documents essential to verifying and tracing students through the system, clearly need legal names.”

He also believes, “students have a right to privacy,” and thinks that professors do not need to know a student’s legal name because it does not prevent the ability to function in a classroom setting.

Senator Arthur Hanney said, “I believe you should go by whatever name you want to go by. If you’re a man and want to go by a woman’s name, more power to you, but when it comes to the permanent record of your schooling, it should be your given name, period.”

He used himself as an example stating that even though he uses the name “Art”, which is short for Arthur, his full name is on his ID and other school documents, but hasn’t used the name “Arthur” in 30 years.

He said, “I understand why it’s there. It is because it is for my records showing my degree, which is what I feel it should be using your name on all documents but you can be called whatever name you want to be called, unless you legally change it.”

He also believes there needs to be prevention of someone hiding an identity and having history of being a child abuser.

Raphael added that the senate meeting was a discussion matter to gauge how the senators felt about the item and gain input on what should and should not be included in the policy.

She adds, “There were some concerns about use, misuse, and abuse of preferred names so that would be something to include in [the policy], and I’ve seen other schools put that in their policy as well.”

She mentioned the colleges that already have a policy implemented in the systems are Occidental College, Orange Coast College and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“The way that the preferred name policy would go, we need to figure out which documents would be impacted, so that is the other reason why we would need a policy, and why other schools would need a policy,” said Raphael.

While she believes Cerritos College is becoming an inclusive environment, she believes that it is important to create a policy that will unify the behind-the-scenes systems to make them cohesively represent the same information, saying, “It is another thing to have infrastructure in place so that the systems can communicate with one another.

So to make OrgSync do that, there needs to be an infrastructure in place. It is not necessarily saying that the policy is going to make us do it, the policy is going to allow us to figure out which systems are impacted by it.”

Senator Gisselle Moreno thinks implementing the preferred name policy is a sensitive topic but understands the need to make one.

She said, “I do agree to some extent, however I do think there still needs to be some revisions and debate on it, just to make sure everything is cleared out; because I do understand some safety concerns that goes a long with it.”

She does agree with Kang stating the right to privacy but is eager to know more information regarding the policy.

Raphael also believes there needs to be
continued discussion once the policy is drafted so we can implement it into our
system.