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New York governor Kathy Hochul forces colleges to add “preferred pronouns” in student portals, emails, and more

New policy.
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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced that the board of trustees for the State University of New York has rolled out a policy requiring all 64 universities and colleges to use students’ preferred pronouns and names so that the identities of “gender non-conforming,” transgender, and “non-binary” students can be reflected in fully represented in schools’ systems, online portals, emails, and more.

“Every person, regardless of their gender identity or the name they choose to go by, deserves to have identity documentation that reflects who they are,” Hochul said in a press release. “This historic change by the SUNY system is a victory in our ongoing fight to ensure that New York is a place of love and belonging. My administration remains committed to taking the steps necessary to ensure equality and respect for the LGBTQIA+ community.”

The announcement comes as the LGBTQIA+ community celebrates Pride Month.

New York’s Lieutenant Gov. Antonio Delgado said the policy change will ensure members of the LGBTQIA+ feel welcome in colleges and universities.

“SUNY’s new chosen name and pronoun policy being rolled out at all 64 SUNY campuses will provide all students with access to a welcoming higher education environment where they can be themselves,” Delgado said. “By providing equity for all SUNY students, New York is once again proving that we are the nation’s leader when it comes to forward-thinking policies that advance acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

The press release says that campuses must make sure that students’ preferred names and pronouns reflect on all operational systems. The chosen names and pronouns should appear on campus portals, student email addresses, class rosters, and all other systems. Students should also have the option to select ‘X’ when asked to state their gender.

“An inclusive chosen name and pronoun policy doesn’t only help students feel safer on campus—it is also a matter of respect,” the press release states. “This is the next concrete step toward ensuring SUNY’s current and future transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary students feel embraced and uplifted. To those students and families who are seeing an unprecedented effort to roll back LGBTQIA+ rights and opportunities in other states, we want you to know that New York State and SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities intend only to move forward.”

SUNY’s Interim Chancellor Deborah Stanley said the policy change will allow “current and future transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary students to feel embraced and uplifted.”

“To those students and families who are seeing an unprecedented effort to roll back LGBTQIA+ rights and opportunities in other states, we want you to know that New York State and SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities intend only to move forward,” she added.

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