Hundreds of students, staff and faculty at The University of New Mexico are using the new option of utilizing their affirmed or preferred first name on a growing list of select university documents.

“I am thrilled at the continued progress we are making on integrating affirmed/preferred name throughout our campus systems in direct support of individuals’ self-identification,” said Duane Arruti, chief information officer for UNM. “This is a great example of UNM leveraging technology to support the culture and spirit of our campus community.”

In Jan. 2018, former President Abdallah signed policy amendments to UAP 1050 (“Photo Identification Cards”) and UAP 2720 (“Prohibited Discrimination and Equal Opportunity”). The policy changes acknowledged the University recognizing that individuals may prefer to use first names other than their legal ones to identify themselves. As long as the use of this preferred or affirmed name is not for the purposes of misrepresentation or to avoid a legal obligation, the new policy enables individuals to change their preferred or affirmed names on some University documentation.

This is beneficial for students, staff and faculty on numerous levels, as it recognizes UNM’s support for the diversity of gender expression and also aids those who have multiple first names or prefer the use of a nickname or middle name.

According to numbers from UNM Information Technologies (IT), a total 546 people have changed their first names or added an affirmed name to their record utilizing the Affirmed/Preferred First Name Initiative page in LoboWeb, including 53 faculty, 65 staff, 427 students, in addition to affiliates. An affiliate is someone who works at the University in some capacity but is not employed by UNM and is not registered as a student. An example of an affiliate would be someone working for food services, who is paid by another company but are required to have a UNM ID.

The Affirmed/Preferred First Name steering committee has been working on multiple fronts to make sure the implementation of the initiative goes smoothly. The first two phases are now completely functioning, with phase three on the horizon for projected implementation during summer 2019.

Phase I
Phase I of the project involved enabling students, faculty and staff to put their preferred first name on their LoboCards. The conversion involved coordinating changes between the LoboCard Office, Information Technology and the Registrar’s Office, among others. Phase I was completed and implemented in late Jan. 2018. Students, faculty, staff and affiliates now can take part in a two-part process to implement the change.

The simple process involves logging into LoboWeb and entering their preferred first name. For more guidelines, click here. Please note affirmed/preferred first names require a 24-hour update period for the information to be pushed out to the carding software, before a new card can be attained.

The LoboCard Office will offer one free name change to accommodate the preferred name initiative. Since only affirmed/preferred first names are included in this initiative, the one-time offer only applies to reprints tied to first names. Should the cardholder request to return to legal name or to change to another preferred name, the $10 name change fee will apply.

Phase II
Phase II of the initiative involved implementing changes to the diploma process and went live just before Spring graduation 2018 for branch campuses and was available to students graduating following the summer term as well. Effective March 14, students with a degree status GP (Graduation Pending) on the current term who have already created their affirmed/preferred name through LoboWeb will be able to access the electronic Diploma Information form. The Diploma Information form enables students who are Graduation Pending to select the name they wish to display on their diploma.  Alumni may now add or change a preferred first name in their UNM record at no charge using the Alumni Affirmed/Preferred First Name Change Request form.

Once the student’s name change has been added to the UNM record, the student or alumni may use the Duplicate Diploma Request form to request a copy of the diploma that displays the affirmed/preferred first name, for the cost of a duplicate diploma ($15).

At this time, official UNM transcripts will continue to display legal names. Those who wish to make changes to the legal name on their UNM record will still use the Demographic Change form.

Phase III
Phase III includes creating a new LoboWeb page dedicated to collecting gender identity and preferred pronouns. It will also allow the reporting community within UNM to use the collected information in welcome letters. In addition, the team is looking to incorporate affirmed/preferred names into UNM Learn. Phase III is scheduled to be completed by summer 2019.

Please note that some systems and reports must always use legal name, and that not all systems on campus are able to use affirmed first names.See the Affirmed/Preferred Name page for what systems are able to use affirmed/preferred name at this time.