A simple application through CU’s website allows any student to change their name without need for justification
Concordia University has a very diverse student body, whether through ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.
Because of this diverse student body, there are some issues that the administration has tried to address. For example, there is a very clear and precise procedure Concordia offers in order for students to change the name they use, without needing to give a reason.
The issue is, many students aren’t aware it exists.
Gino Eloise studied Biochemistry at Concordia, and has used they/them pronouns ever since enrolling. However, they used to go by a different name, which is still used in academic settings. They haven’t officially registered their new name with Concordia, in part because it’s a recent change, but also because they didn’t know how.
“I didn’t even know it was something that can change or whether it would just be extra trouble for everyone,” said Eloise.
“I just feel like my identity is a burden. So I don’t go through like, the trouble of making it known, especially in academic settings,” they said. They also explained that they experience a lot of misgendering, “Especially since I look the way that I look — I’m very fem presenting.”
Ariane Lussier-Gendron, the health and resources coordinator at Queer Concordia explained that although there is a way of changing names at Concordia, it isn’t necessarily well known.
One common thread at Concordia may be that there is a gap between what the university does for its students and what the students know about. Having recently gotten involved with Queer Concordia, Lussier-Gendron has already received emails from students, asking for help accessing these resources.
She explained, “Personally, I’ve had people come to me by email asking me questions. Not exactly related to this, but something similar, and I have had to do the research myself. So we don’t have a protocol or anything, but that is actually something I’m working on.”
Through her research, Lussier-Gendron found two students who had gone through the procedure to change names, and to her surprise they had fairly positive experiences.
One downside to this process may be that Concordia doesn’t inform professors of changes.
“[One student] changed their name, like mid-semester. And they said, ‘I kind of wish [Concordia] would email your profs about the change.’ Because they wound up having to do it themselves, and that was a little bit awkward,” said Lussier-Gengron.
An easily fixable detail.
All in all, this procedure does what it needs to do — now it’s just a question of telling students that this is an easy process; that, despite some hurdles, it’s possible to change your name without having to justify your decision.
Graphic by @the.beta.lab