Point/Counterpoint: Preferred names

Point: Name changes take step toward inclusiveness

Editor in Chief Jay Ibarra

NIU was strong in giving students the right to use their preferred name and gender pronouns because it creates acceptance and understanding throughout college.

Similar to many students, I was born with a name that I don’t prefer to go by and use a nickname that I identify with instead. My name is Jordan, but I prefer to go by Jay.

When students walk into their respective classrooms, University data systems are provided to the instructor with the student’s legal name and gender identification. Professors do honor requests made of any preferred name and/or gender pronoun, according to the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.

Creating an environment where students can thrive with a little change such as understanding what they would prefer to be called, not only eliminates awkward interactions with professors but also with peers. There have been many occasions on the first day of class when I have forgotten to raise my hand as “Jordan” — it is not what I recognize as my name.

What I enjoy most about this new addition is that it includes people that are transitioning, that don’t want to commit and change their name. I personally don’t want to change my name — not yet.

While some people have nicknames that stretch far off the imagination, I say we encourage them. We’re college-aged students, and if our peers can’t develop an understanding now for originality, then tough.

Counterpoint: Preferred names could get out of hand fast

Managing Editor Nick Bosshart

The option for students to set their preferred name on MyNIU could get out of hand if not better regulated, a review process may eliminate any silliness or confusion.

Opening a preferred name option eliminates awkward situations for individuals that choose to go by a different name; however, the freedom to choose a preferred name could easily be abused.

As of now, the stipulations to choosing a preferred name are students must only use upper and lowercase letters, spaces, dashes, apostrophes and backwards apostrophes, according to the NIU Registration and Records webpage.

This leaves an opportunity for students to put nonsensical names that are not necessarily their preferred name.

Fans of the late 90s show “Friends” may remember when Phoebe legally changed her name to “Princess Consuela Banana Hammock.” Of course Phoebe changed her legal name and the option offered on MyNIU is to change a preferred name, but it could lead to some absurd situations in classrooms as instructors take attendance.

The important question is who is to say when a name is entered as a joke and when the name is actually a student’s preferred name.

Residents in Illinois must file a request to change their name with their county’s circuit clerk and must be approved by a judge, according to Illinois Legal Aid Online.

Having students apply to have their preferred names approved ensures that someone looks over the requested name before it is processed.