University Announces New Chosen Name Change Policy


Mackenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram

Fordham is now accomodating students and employees that go by a name different than their legal one. (Mackenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

Hasna Ceran, Assistant News Editor

Members of the Fordham community received an email from the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer Rafael Zapata on Aug. 31 stating that Fordham University had recently approved a Chosen First Name Policy.

“Understanding that some students and employees prefer to use chosen first names other than their legal ones to identify themselves, the policy now provides a mechanism for community members to do so in certain places where it is legally and operationally permissible,” read the email. 

While many professors at Fordham outline their policies on preferred names and pronouns on their syllabi, this policy is university-wide and encompasses more than just the classroom environment. 

Members of the Fordham community can now fill out a form to change their chosen name on either their student or employee tab on According to the Chosen First Name Policy now outlined on the university’s website, this name can then appear on places including ID cards, the campus directory, grade rosters and email. Students can also apply to have their chosen name appear on their diploma by filling out a graduation application on

However, a person’s legal name will continue to be used in situations, including but not limited to the purposes of financial aid, official academic transcripts and health records. Furthermore, if a student or employee’s usage of a chosen name is found to be in violation of the law or Fordham’s policy, the chosen name will not be used in any aspect. The university will also only be allowing one name change under its discretion.

Kelvin Buck, FCRH ’21, said that the policy is a definite step forward for LGBTQ+ students in the Fordham community. 

“It’s a huge relief to know that next semester, I won’t need to reach out to my professors before classes start to inform them of my name, and hope they agree to use it,” they said. “It will also be incredibly helpful to have everything match in the system, I’ve had many instances when faculty or staff have used the name in the email header when replying to me, even though I signed the email with my name, which has been very frustrating.”

In the email, Zapata credited the collective efforts of the community in the passage of this policy. 

“I am especially grateful to our colleagues on the Academic Records Committee, as well as countless graduate and undergraduate students and student organizations at the Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campuses,” said Zapata.