Respecting Gender and Pronouns

Everyone has the right to be addressed and referred to by the chosen name and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity, including the use of non-binary pronouns (e.g. they/them). Recent research also demonstrates the protective health impact of using chosen names.

Class rosters have a student’s legal first name unless they have designated their chosen first name with the Registrar's office. Pronouns are not included on rosters, so as you get to know your students, you can invite them to share their pronoun with you, if they wish. If a student does not choose to share a pronoun, please refer to them by their chosen name.

A student’s chosen name and pronouns should be respected at all times in our community (classrooms, workspaces, residence halls, etc.).

Inclusive strategies for welcoming students include:

  1. Use the name a student asks you to use, regardless of whether the roster or participation list has a different name, and regardless of whether the roster name seems to be a name associated with another gender (please do not point this out or mention it to other students). HomerConnect now pulls information listed in the chosen name field as opposed to only pulling information from the legal name field. Making this simple change before publicly reading the roster or program attendance list will avoid inadvertently embarrassing the student or disclosing their personal information to others.
  2. Ask all students to complete index cards with contact information, the name they use/like to be called, and answers to a few other questions. You may also invite all students to write their pronouns, too. You may need to explain/give examples. (e.g., my pronouns are 'she' and 'her'; my pronouns are ‘they/them’.) If you do class introductions, invite students to use the name they wish to be called, even if it is different from what is on the roster.
  3. Consider using the inclusive they/them pronouns to refer to students.
  4. Call on students using a description rather than a gender, for instance instead of saying "the gentleman in back", or "the woman in the front," say things like "the student in the purple sweater in the back row" or "the student with red eyeglasses", etc.
  5. Be aware of campus resources. For instance, the LGBT Center provides consultation, resources, support, and referral. Director Luca Maurer provides consultation to faculty and staff seeking more information, and connects students to the policies, programs, and services on our campus that support them. Contact lmaurer@ithaca.edu or 607-274-7394.
  6. Put a Title IX paragraph on the syllabus or orientation/contact materials you provide to your students: “Title IX is a federal act mandating that educational institutions receiving federal funding must provide sex and gender equity. All students have the right to a campus atmosphere free of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and gender discrimination. To make a report of sexual assault, sexual harassment or gender discrimination, please contact Linda Koenig, Title IX Coordinator; lkoenig@ithaca.edu or (607) 274-7761. Please visit the SHARE website for more information.”

Simple adjustments like this will make a big difference in welcoming students into our classrooms and co-curricular learning opportunities across campus. These actions are part of the larger work of creating and sustaining an inclusive, supportive, safe, and nondiscriminatory campus community for all our students.