A newly implemented policy, enacted in August 2017 and known formally as the “ID Card Replacement Policy,” will allow Stony Brook University students, faculty and staff members who would like to change their legal names on campus ID cards due to transitioning purposes, to obtain new ones.
“Being able to be correctly addressed in class is affirming to personal identity,” Chief Deputy to the President Judith B. Greiman said. “We want all of the campus community to feel supported and seen while at Stony Brook, empowering them to take full advantage of all the opportunities and services that Stony Brook has to offer.”
To be granted permission to change one’s name on their campus ID card, individuals must meet with the coordinator of Stony Brook University’s LGBTQ* Services Chris Tanaka and request the change via email or personal visit. The policy states that the first card replacement will be granted at no cost.
“University policy states that we’re supposed to have our ID cards on us at all times,” junior Spanish language and literature and psychology double major Allison Link said. “I think this policy helps validate the trans community on campus by allowing them to obtain an ID card that matches their identity.”
The original “Chosen or Preferred Name Policy,” approved in October 2016, allowed students, faculty and staff members to set either their chosen or preferred names on SOLAR, thereby allowing the Office of the Registrar to use that name for future correspondence. This name would also be used on class rosters, final grade rosters and on Blackboard.
“IDs were a priority because they’re used to swipe in for events, credit, into your building and to buy food,” Tanaka said. “Over the summer we were able to finalize a plan for the ID cards following the ‘Chosen or Preferred Name Policy.’ That led [to] the groundwork for this.”
One issue the registrar and other administrations faced after students began changing their preferred names on SOLAR, was that Blackboard displayed one name, while students’ ID cards displayed another. On top of that, if a student were to be stopped by officers of the University Police Department (UPD) and their ID was their only form of identification, they would need to have proof of their legal names available in some form.
Of course, for some students, campus ID cards are their only form of identification. Those with new IDs will be able to easily identify themselves, but anyone with an outdated ID that does not reflect the proper name would need to have alternative forms of identification available to them.
“The solution we came up with is that we would print double-sided IDs,” Tanaka said. “The front would have chosen or preferred names and the back has their legal name.”
The policy is also making it possible for transitioning students to change their Stony Brook email addresses, in the case that they would like their preferred name to match the one on their new ID cards. In response to an email sent to the campus community by LGBTQ* Services about the new card policy, some students say they are in favor of it.
“When I first heard about this policy, I was overjoyed,” senior chemical and molecular engineering major, Jessica Hofflich, said. “No more will I be wrongly named by that one cashier at the [Student Activities Center] who calls people by the names on their IDs.”
This policy, which fights for the rights of transgender people, has the potential to become a reality at other universities as well.
“If student organizations across different campuses can try and make this policy commonplace, then hopefully other universities will follow suit,” Link said. “It’s all up to the students, and right now, Stony Brook is doing its part.”
In regard to how other campuses can promote LGBTQ* inclusivity, Greiman said she hopes universities recognize the importance and make the change.
“While it may take a while to change all of the many systems, our underlying philosophy of inclusion and affirmation is evidenced in the policy, and we have prioritized the list of changes that need to be made,” Greiman said. “I urge other campuses to take this same approach.”