Students at Boston University are now able to change their names and preferred pronouns on the school’s database.
“[The new directory listing] provided needed flexibility and recognition for people who either had name changes or wanted to be referred to in a different way than their record indicated,” BU spokesperson Colin Riley told the student newspaper, The Daily Free Press.
The school community was alerted to the change last month in an email sent by Vice President and Associate Provost for Enrollment and Student Administration Christine McGuire on July 19, according to the student newspaper. The change was made in a bid to become more inclusive for the LGBTQ community and took effect on July 18.
The changes apply to the school’s directory, diplomas, Student Health Service medical record and other databases used by students on a daily basis, according to the school paper.
The announcement has been celebrated by some as a move that will allow fewer worries for students who don’t want their former pronouns or name being used.
“One of the biggest benefits is ultimately that these changes can help ensure the safety of students who aren’t necessarily able to get their name legally changed,” Alex, a student at the school who identifies as a transmasculine, told the school newspaper. “That’s a wonderful option to have because it lets people know how to refer to you, and it doesn’t lead people to make assumptions.”
But the change also came with some criticisms and worry that if a student updates their name and pronouns on the school directory, it threatens outing them to their families if their families are unaware of their identity.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who are afraid to update their name or pronouns, because they just don’t want it getting back home,” sophomore student Vlad Rada told the student newspaper. “But that’s not necessarily something that can be changed easily.” Rada argued the change is still a “positive”as the updates will automatically alert professors to use a student’s preferred pronouns.
The vice president of BU’s Trans Listening Circle added that the updated policy allows for affirmation of students’ identities, but it could also out students to their parents.
“Making [name changing] accessible and … having a lower barrier of entry can be incredibly affirming and euphoric for people,” she said. “[However,] there is a chance that if this system is misunderstood, it could potentially out people to their parents.”
Boston University did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the update.
Boston University joins a long list of colleges and universities across the country that allow students to change their names and preferred pronouns on school records. University of California campuses made the update on students’ preferred names and pronouns back in 2020. And in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced earlier this year that all 64 State University of New York campuses must also allow students to make changes on school records.