Oregon State University is taking strides toward better reflecting student identity in its application process by adding additional options for gender identity, sexual orientation, and chosen name.
Prospective students will soon have the choice of submitting names different than their legal first names, which will be reflected on all course rosters, directory listings, ID cards, and diplomas associated with the university. This is of particular importance to transgender students, says Cindy Konrad, assistant director of the OSU Pride Center.
“Allowing the use of a different name other than their birth name supports the well-being and academic success of transgender students. It can serve the purpose of aligning an individual’s name with their gender identity,” said Konrad.
Additional changes will be available to applicants in the form of expanded options for both gender and sexual orientation. The traditional binary options for gender will now include transgender and genderqueer, and the sexual orientation section will reflect a variety of sexual identities.
Liz Hart, a student at OSU, said, “This gives students who do not fit in traditional gender/sexual orientation categories the option to feel safe and authentic in an environment that may have been historically oppressive. School can be a very stressful place for LGBTQ+ students – navigating paperwork can be especially stressful if it does not reflect what you actually identify as.”
In addition to contributing to OSU’s goals for increasing inclusivity, this change also addresses the university’s requirement under Oregon Senate Bill 473 to provide demographic data on sexual orientation to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
Hart added, “I’m proud of OSU for making these changes, and I hope we continue to see improvements like this that uplift the lives of students in non-traditional identities. Now a student’s first impression when applying to OSU is that they don’t have to be so afraid of being underrepresented or having their identity ignored.”
By Keely Corder