Students who change their name with UT experience confusion with coverage

Lauren Grobe

Students who want to change their name can use a name change service through the Gender and Sexuality Center, but students may not be familiar with what the name change encompasses.

The service started in 2011 and aims to help students who are gender nonconforming. It changes students’ names on class rosters, the online directory and ID cards, according to the form on GSC’s website. The GSC does not actually change a student’s first name but instead adds a “UT Preferred Name” to a student’s records that appears as the first name, according to the form.

Undeclared freshman Evan McClain said when he filled out the form, he expected a more complete change from the service. He said he noticed his legal name was still being used by the UT system when he used his UT ID at a dining hall, despite the fact that the name on his ID was his preferred name.

“I thought it would cover everything, and I thought it would be everywhere,” McClain said.

A student’s name cannot be changed on official transcripts, diplomas or payrolls without a legal name change. The Office of the Registrar is legally required to use a student’s legal name on these documents, interim University registrar Brenda Schumann said.

“We give the preferred name in our systems,” Schumann said. “Their legal name stays (the same) until their legal name is changed.”

Because biochemistry freshman Isio Oguni has a job with the University, they are still called by their legal name at work. Oguni said this makes recognizing their correct identity uncomfortable. 

“I applied with my legal name … so that was the name they put on everything and it’s kind of awkward,” Oguni said.

Oguni said they were referred to as the incorrect name at University Health Services.

“Sometimes they only read the printed forms, so they have a tendency to use the wrong name,” Oguni said.

Despite the confusion, both students said the GSC process is quick and accessible.

“It was easier than I expected,” Oguni said. “I went there with the filled out forms … and they sent me an email when it had gone through.”

Oguni said they understand why certain documents require their legal name and appreciates where their name is correct.

“I logged on to a (UT) computer one time … and it had the right name on it,” Oguni said. “It wasn’t something I thought about until that moment.”