Students applying to UFV will now be able to identify their preferred name and gender.
“We’ve added another option, which is ‘another gender identity,’ so someone doesn’t have to use the gender binary of male or female,” said Kyle Baillie, the director of Student Life and development.
Students will also be able to provide a preferred name, which will be used in their student email accounts, on myUFV and Blackboard, and on class rosters.
The changes are a clear move to promote inclusivity within the institution, and Baillie notes that there’s a variety of students that will benefit from them.
“It’s not just students who are transitioning their gender,” he said. “We have international students who have their given name, and what they go by here in Canada — [they] can use this as well … it’s open to all students.”
Although these changes are only now ready to go into effect, planning began almost a year ago.
“Last fall was when it really came on to the radar as something that we wanted to look at,” Baillie said. “We’ve been working on it for a little while, but it’s one of those things where we want to get it right.”
Originally, the idea for the changes came out of conversations between Baillie, the Student Union Society, and the UFV Pride club — all three parties agreed that this was a necessary step for the institution.
“I think it’s really important because it signals to anybody who is applying to UFV that inclusion is an important value to us,” Baillie said. “It’s about honouring and respecting our students and our staff. It’s an important step for us to take.”
Students wanting to change their preferred name or gender identity can do so by completing the personal information change form on the UFV website and bringing it to the Office of the Registrar, a process that Baillie described as “fully confidential.”
“A student doesn’t have to explain why they’re changing their name or their indicative gender identity,” he said. “They can just fill out the form, submit it, and we’ll take care of everything else.”
The changes will be fully effective when classes begin for the fall semester.
“We’re working through all the bugs and the business processes right now, but by September it will be in place,” Baillie said.