Student Names and Pronouns
Our names, and how people address us, are central to our identity. The Weitzman School is committed to supporting students’ identities by using correct names and pronouns. The information on this page provides details about how students can update their names and pronouns at Weitzman and at Penn.
The University will be transitioning to a new student record system in 2022. Once the new system is live, there will be more functionality and ease of use for students wishing to have university records display a name that is different from their legal name. In the meantime, the processes listed below are available to students.
Name Change at Penn
Important: This Name Change process is specific to trans, gender nonconforming, and non-binary students whose legal name differs from the name they use.
To change how your name appears in University systems, please complete the Name Request Form. After submitting this form, students speak with a designated ally from the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life (either Dr. Erin Cross, Director of the LGBT Center or Rodney Robinson, Associate Director in the Office of Student Affairs) before a name can be updated. This process updates how a student’s first name and/or middle name is displayed in all Penn systems except those relating to payroll.
This is not a legal name change. The University is unable to designate a change to surname without documents showing that the surname has been changed legally by a court or government entity.
Name and Pronoun Usage at Weitzman
Important: This name/pronoun designation process is internal to Weitzman. It does not change your name in any University or Weitzman system and does not constitute a legal name change.
The Weitzman School is committed to supporting a safe and inclusive environment for trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary students and to supporting the use of correct gender pronouns for all members of our community and in any and all interactions and/or correspondence in each department and in the school. Gender is fluid and language use shifts over time and these guidelines will be updated regularly to reflect updates and new protocols. The LGBT Center at Penn provides a concise overview of the importance of using pronouns correctly.
Students who use a name other than their legal name are invited to notify Weitzman of the name they would like faculty and staff to use. For example, international students who choose to use a name other than their legal name, or trans, gender non-conforming or non-binary students who use a name and pronouns that differ from those documented in university systems. Trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary students who would like to update their name that displays on course rosters, student records, etc. should follow the process for Name Change at Penn in the section above.
When you fill out the Weitzman Name/Pronoun Usage Form, your information is shared with Weitzman administrative departments and your academic department. You may also indicate whether you would like your department to share the form with your faculty.
Legal Name Change at Penn
The Office of the University Registrar processes updates to student records in the event of a legal name change resulting from marriage, divorce, or court order. The Weitzman Office of Student Services does not make changes to student legal names for any reason. The University Registrar accepts name change requests and documentation through the online Student Data Update Form. For more information about legal name change updates, visit the SRFS student records update webpage.
Updating Pronouns in Canvas
Canvas now allows students to designate which pronouns they use. To display or update your pronouns in Canvas:
STEP 1: Click on “Account” in the left menu and then click on “Settings”
STEP 2: Click on “Edit Settings” in the bottom right corner
STEP 3: Click on the drop-down menu in the Pronouns field to select which pronouns you would like displayed.
STEP 4: Be sure to save your changes by clicking “Update Settings” before exiting:
Your pronouns will now display next to your name in Canvas:
Below are some resources for students seeking additional information about legal name changes:
- National Center for Transgender Equality: ID Document Center
- Legal Name Change in Pennsylvania: PA Law Help
- Leslie Townsend Fund: Application to support students gender transition, including legal name change