When I came to campus with a new name to match my gender identity, I was beyond thrilled to hear that a formal preferred-change policy had been adopted here.
Before this policy, it was the responsibility of students to e-mail their professors and let them know about the change. This exchange can be awkward, uncomfortable, and makes the start of the year incredibly stressful, as occasionally you will not know if the professor received, or decided to acknowledge your e-mail, until the first day of class.
Not to mention the interface for a name change—a simple form on the Kalamazoo College website that takes less than a minute to fill out—is all you need. Getting your name on your ID in security was even easier, and Eric Wimbley made sure mine was done right.
While I am incredibly excited about the potential this policy has, I, and several other transgender or gender non-conforming students, are still unhappy with several components of the policy.
One problem is their claim that a name change takes two business weeks to process is far-off. I waited almost two months to get mine changed, which is a lifetime to someone who feels like they are living under a false identity. Others were not as fortunate, and some still had not seen theirs by the end of the quarter.
While I cannot pretend to understand what database work goes into a name change, I do think it is unreasonable for the time frame to be so varied. At the very least, the school should give a more realistic time frame to us.
Another problem is that the name change, while efficient on rosters and e-mail addresses, does not expand to the registrar. Every quarter, without fail, I get e-mail messages using my incorrect name. Others have found their legal names plastered on the school’s website, rather than their preferred one.
These instances are incredibly harmful to transgender or gender non-conforming students on this campus, and invalidate our identity. While the policy shows promise, far more needs to be done before the college can consider themselves trans-inclusive.