Credit: Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

Students now have the option to add their personal pronouns to the campus directory.

As of Jan. 2020, pronouns will display on classroom and other administrative rosters, according to the Pride Center. This will allow professors to address students by their self-reported pronouns. 

“When someone is referred to with the wrong name or pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated or hurt,” Cal Poly Communications Specialist Cynthia Lambert wrote in an email to Mustang News. “Asking about and consistently using a campus community member’s preferred name and personal pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity.”

Students, faculty and staff can also now report their gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation to the university. However, this information is only available to select staff members with “legitimate need.”

Providing this information to the university is optional.

The change comes after then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB-620 in 2011. The bill requested California public universities “collect aggregate demographic information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.” AB-620 went into full effect Jan. 2019.

Cal Poly’s move towards inclusivity in terms of sexuality and gender started in 2014 when an option on the California State University admissions application was made available for students to self-report sexual orientation or gender identity. The form was later made available to all current students in April 2017.

Students, faculty and staff started being listed in the Cal Poly directory under their preferred name beginning in March 2019 in an attempt to recognize individual identity. The portal already allowed users to add a preferred name different from their legal name, but now only preferred names will be listed.

To update sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, students can log into their Cal Poly portal and click on the Student Center, go to the Personal Information section and choose Identity from the “other personal” drop-down menu. 

According to the website, the university reserves the right to remove or deny a preferred name or personal pronoun submission if used inappropriately. The disclaimer reads that inappropriate use “includes, but is not limited to, foul or inappropriate language or identifiers submitted to avoid a legal obligation or to create misrepresentation.”

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