Preferred/Chosen Name Policy

Preferred/Chosen Name Policy


Chief Diversity Officer for Institutional Equity and Inclusion and Assistant Vice President of Human Resources


Chief Diversity Officer for Institutional Equity and Inclusion


Human Resources



Effective Date:


Implementation History:

First version of the policy 1/2022


Preferred Name, Chosen Name, GENDA, Non-Discrimination, Gender Expression, Gender Identity

Background Information:

In January of 2019, the State Legislature passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act or GENDA. The Governor signed the bill into law on January 25, 2019.

GENDA proscribes various entities from discriminating on the basis of gender identity or expression when providing certain access and services, adding gender identity and expression at an equivalent level to other protected classes under New York State law. The statute defines gender identity as “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.”

The new statute also amends the Penal Law to include gender identity or expression to the protected classes to the definition of hate crime, aggravated harassment in the second degree, aggravated harassment in the first degree, and makes corresponding updates to definitions to enforce these provisions. Updates to the criminal law provisions took effect November 1, 2019.

In the spirit of acknowledging the diverse and inclusive community, SUNY Empire recognizes that some students and employees wish to use a first name other than a legal or official name of record to identify themselves in day-to-day use. The College extends this accommodation in order to help foster a more welcoming, supportive and respectful campus climate for all of its students and employees. Additionally, this policy aligns with current Title IX legislation, Title VII legislation, and NYS Labor Law 201-g, and with the purpose of encouraging an environment for personal expression within community standards (i.e., not profane, obscene, or derived from hate-speech; and conform to technical requirements).


This policy recognizes that members of the SUNY Empire community may prefer to use names other than their legal names in order to identify themselves, and ensures that the preferred/chosen name of students and employees can and should be used when possible in the course of college business, communication, and/or education. This policy is limited to first names and not surnames or family names.


Preferred/Chosen Name For the purpose of this policy, the name by which a student or employee wishes to be known that differs from a person’s legal name.

Identification Card It is an identification document certifying the status of a student or employee.

Legal Name The name that an individual is given at birth and which appears on a birth certificate recognized by a government or other legal entity, or the name which appears on a marriage certificate or other government issued document (e.g. court order) on which a legal name change is recorded.

Student A student is a person who is enrolled at the college for the purpose of taking courses and/or working towards obtaining a degree. This can include a matriculated undergraduate, graduate, international, and non-degree seeking student.

Employees An employee is a person employed for wages or salary at SUNY Empire.


SUNY Empire acknowledges that a person’s preferred/chosen name can and should be used when possible in the course of college business and education. At the college’s discretion and as may be required by law, certain official correspondence will use a student or employees’ legal name.

This policy applies to students and employees.

Prohibited uses of a Preferred Name  

  1. A preferred/chosen name shall not be used for the purpose of misidentification, misrepresentation, fraud, to avoid legal obligations, or in any other manner that violates College, SUNY, local, state or federal policy, law, rules or regulations, including the student conduct policy and all employee-related rules and policies. Violations of such polices, laws, rules or regulations shall be addressed through established procedures. 
  2. A preferred/chosen name may not include words, symbols or numbers or be otherwise prohibited under the law and/or college policy or procedure, including the student code of conduct. 
  3. A preferred/chosen name may not be a common derivative of the legal name (ex. Timothy to Tim)
  4. The College reserves the right to reject the use of or remove from college administrative systems or documents any preferred/chosen name that it deems in its sole judgement to be in violation of this policy.

For employees, requests will be reviewed by the Office of Human Resources. For students, requests will be reviewed by the Office of the Registrar.

The college is obligated to use the legal name for many official records and reports, including, but not limited to, payroll records, billing records, financial aid documents, official transcripts, medical records, enrollment reporting, and federal immigration documents. 

This policy is consistent with current values and policies of SUNY Empire that protect students and employees against discrimination based on gender identity and expression, and align with state and federal regulations. This policy is drafted as a best practice for supporting transgender and gender non-conforming members of college communities. The ability to use one’s chosen name is not limited to use by transgender and gender non-conforming students and employees, however, and is available to anyone who uses a chosen name on a daily basis other than their legal/primary first name.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)

Title IX of the United States

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices


Students should log into Self Service Banner and complete the Preferred/Chosen Name request form.  

Employees should reach out to the Office of Human Resources to request a preferred/chosen name.

Preferred/chosen name will appear in the following locations:

  • Self-service Banner
  • Learning Management System
  • Email address/Office365
  • DP Planner (excludes printed Degree Plans)
  • PLA Planner
  • Service Now

Students and employees who have registered a preferred name with the college can obtain ID card info through the Office of Safety and Security.

While the preferred/chosen name will be on the front of the card, the legal name will be shown on the back. The first card for a preferred/chosen name change will be issued at no charge. Any card issued after this complementary card will be charged the normal replacement fee.

Additional Information

Adjusting the college’s various information systems to include the use of the preferred name is a multiyear effort, due to the complexity and interrelated nature of systems and record sources. As we work toward developing a comprehensive process, you should not hesitate to request the addition of a preferred first name. You are also welcome to request a confidential consultation with a member of the registrar’s staff. 

For Students Appealing a Denial for a Preferred/Chosen Name

If a request for a preferred/chosen name was denied, a student can appeal the decision by email to Please include any additional relevant information as to why the denial reason does not apply to this case.

Related References, Policies, Forms and Appendices