ASG introduces resolution to standardize names and pronouns


Alison Albelda/Daily Senior Staffer

Students talk during Associated Student Government Senate. ASG introduced a resolution Wednesday calling for administrators to take immediate steps to establish a database system of preferred pronouns and names, with the choice to opt-out for privacy.

Yunkyo Kim, Reporter

Associated Student Government introduced a resolution Wednesday that supports a Spring 2019 Faculty Senate legislation to standardize name and pronoun usage across University platforms.

The resolution calls for administrators to take immediate steps to establish a database system of preferred pronouns and names, with the choice to opt-out for privacy. The information, in turn, will transfer to the University’s class rosters, CAESAR, Canvas, online directory, email servers and Wildcard systems.

If put to action, Adam Davies, co-author of the resolution and ASG executive vice president, said the resolution will improve the experience of the nonbinary and gender-nonconforming population at Northwestern.

“I’m excited about this legislation,” the SESP senior said. “This legislation will just be another additional word of weight to hopefully have some mobilization.”

Davies said they were repeatedly misgendered before legally changing their name and their Wildcard, which only listed their birth name and not their preferred name, was part of the problem.

Transgender students at NU have worked for a long time for the resolution to reach the Senate floor, Davies said. Davies said they hoped the passing of the resolution would further encourage the University to act on measures that would be inclusive to nonbinary and nonconforming students and faculty.

Elynnor Sandefer, co-writer of the resolution and vice president for campus life, said the standardization of preferred names and pronouns across platforms was necessary.

“There is definitely a very urgent need at Northwestern for a system where a person can change their name and pronouns in one location and have it be reflected in another location,” the Weinberg junior said. “That’s a very unnecessarily complicated process that leaves a lot lacking.”

Afnan Elsheikh, a Weinberg junior who is on the executive board of the Panhellenic Association at NU, added she was worried about the possible consequences for nonbinary and transgender students who partake in Greek life.

While sororities on campus want to let students indicate their gender identities, Elsheikh said national chapter bylaws may prohibit the admission of nonbinary students, thus creating concerns of privacy and exclusion.

“Chapters at Northwestern want to accept anyone,” Elsheikh said. “That way, they can accept any member that they want into the PHA community.”

ASG will vote on the resolution in their next upcoming session. If the bill passes, it will continue to put more pressure on the University to come up with standardized software for names and pronouns.

Davies said having more data about the presence of transgender and nonbinary students at Northwestern will also lead to enhanced Campus Climate Survey results.

“It’s going to help figure out how many students we have so we can tailor our services and then make their experiences here easier,” Davies said.

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