Chosen First Names
Keene State College recognizes that some people use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. In August 2015, Keene State College launched the option allowing transgender students and other students to indicate their chosen first name regardless of whether they have legally changed their name.
Once you’ve told us of your chosen name, that name will be used in all of the following Keene State College information systems:
- E-mail address
- Owl Card and Owl Card Portal
- Class rosters
- Student Planning
- Residential life and housing services
- Keene.edu directory
- Campus mail services
- Mason Library
- Commencement program and cards that announce out loud the names of graduating students
- Advancement/Alumni systems
Legal last names will remain unchanged and will be included with chosen first names. Indicating a chosen first name for use at Keene State College does not constitute a legal name change. As a result, legal first and last name will be used in all of the following Keene State College information systems:
- Financial aid and student accounts/bills
- Payroll/student employment records
- Federal immigration documents/visas
- Student health forms
- Official transcripts
- Enrollment and degree verification
II. How to let us know of your chosen first name
- Fill out and submit the online Name Change Form. Make sure you type your chosen name in the box labeled chosen first name.
- After you submit the online form, you’ll receive an e-mail to confirm your request. Respond to that email in order to implement your changes. Your request will be implemented approximately four business days after you confirm the email. This confirmation is necessary to make sure it’s really you who requested the change.
- The IT Help Desk will call to let you know that your chosen first name change is complete. Visit the Owl Card Office in the Zorn Dining Commons to receive your updated Owl Card. Keene State College will waive the $25 replacement fee for an Owl Card for students requesting a chosen name change.
III.Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I have to indicate a chosen first name?
No, you do not have to indicate a chosen first name. This is a service for students who use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. Transgender students are encouraged to indicate a chosen first name.
2. Will my chosen first name be used at Commencement?
Yes, your chosen first name will appear on the Commencement program that is printed and handed out at the ceremony, and your chosen first name will be announced out loud when you walk across the stage. However, your legal first and last name will appear on your official diploma that is mailed over the summer.
3. Are there places where chosen first name will not be used?
Yes, your legal first and last name will be used in college business that requires use of legal name, including (but not limited to) financial aid, payroll, health forms, transcripts, and diplomas.
4. Who will have access to my legal first name?
Keene State College employees who conduct college business with information systems involving legal first names will have access to your full legal name along with your chosen first name. Those employees are being advised to identify you in person by your chosen first name, but some college business and federal laws require the use of legal names. For assistance, contact the Program Support Assistant for LGBTQ Students, Hunter Kirschner.
5. Can I refuse to disclose my chosen first name in directory information?
Yes, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), you can fill out the Registrar’s downloadable Privacy Request Form, which will put a hold on all of the Keene State College information systems where chosen first name is used, including (but not limited to) the directory.
6. How do I change my legal name?
At Keene State College, you need to fill out the Registrar’s online Name Change Form and supply legal identification documentation that references your new legal first and/or last name. Examples of legal identification documents include a driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport. For guidance in changing your name legally through the courts, contact the Program Support Assistant for LGBTQ Students, Hunter Kirschner.
7. Where can I get more information about chosen first names at Keene State College?
If you have questions about the procedure, contact:
Dean of Students Office
If you have questions about diversity issues related to chosen names, or you are a transgender student and need assistance, contact:
Office of Multicultural Student Support and Success
Program Support Assistant for LGBTQ Students