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UBmail, Zoom, Microsoft 365 to display chosen names starting June 11

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Published May 14, 2024

“UB’s incorporation of preferred/chosen names in the UBmail, Zoom and Microsoft 365 systems not only complies with SUNY’s policy mandate, but also promotes inclusion by addressing people in a way consistent with their identity. ”
Sharon Nolan-Weiss, director
Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Beginning June 11, UBmail, Zoom and Microsoft 365 applications — including Microsoft Teams — will use preferred/chosen names for everyone who has set their chosen name through UB Human Resources (faculty and staff) or HUB Student Center (students). The changes will roll out incrementally over the following days and will be completed by June 14.

Employees who want to update their chosen names should submit a preferred/chosen name request through Human Resources; students should update their information in HUB. If individuals do not update their chosen name by June 1, their legal name will continue to display. Changes made after June 1 will take a few days to display across all applications.

As part of the transition, most mixed-case names will now display with proper capitalization (e.g. Mcdermott will now display as McDermott). Additionally, employees who requested updates to their names in UBmail but did not update their records with Human Resources may need to update their information. To request an update to personal information, employees should contact Human Resources.

This is an important change for the campus to be aware of — not only for those with a chosen name, but also for anyone who may be searching for colleagues or students whose names now display differently.

For the past several years, UB’s Chosen Name Committee has been working to integrate preferred/chosen names and pronouns into campus systems across the university. These efforts support the university’s mission to build a welcoming and inclusive environment and align with instructions given by the SUNY Board of Trustees in 2022.

“UB’s incorporation of preferred/chosen names in the UBmail, Zoom and Microsoft 365 systems not only complies with SUNY’s policy mandate, but also promotes inclusion by addressing people in a way consistent with their identity,” says Sharon Nolan-Weiss, director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “For our transgender community in particular, using a person’s legal name instead of their chosen name may misgender them or 'out' them, and can lead them to feel unwelcome or unsafe at UB.

“We also know that many people prefer to use a nickname or middle name,” she adds, “and this change will avoid the confusion that can arise when the name listed on an email or other communication is not the same as the name we know the person by. I’m excited to see these changes move forward as we continue to expand the processes and systems where UB can reflect a preferred/chosen name.”

Since its formation, the Chosen Name Committee has been working toward the following goals:

Create an inventory of software systems.

The committee identified more than 200 software systems on campus and is evaluating them to determine which systems will need information for chosen names. The committee continues to add and review systems as needed.

Establish a virtual resource center.

The committee has created and updated digital resources to help the campus community navigate and understand policy changes — including publishing these resources:

Set preferred/chosen names, non-binary gender marker and pronouns.

Since 2017, UB students can add their chosen or preferred name to campus operating systems as part of the university record. In 2022, UB incorporated pronouns into our student systems. Pronouns appear on class rosters and student systems for students who have chosen to enter them. Students also have the choice not to have their pronouns appear. Since fall 2023, students have been able to update their gender markers, including an option for non-binary. State employees can also submit their chosen name, gender identity and pronouns to Human Resources.

The committee will continue to develop documentation for new and revised processes and evaluate the scope of the issues, processes and systems that require modifications.

The project is a cross-campus partnership sponsored by:

  • Craig Abbey, vice provost for institutional analysis and planning.
  • Christina Hernandez, senior associate vice president, Student Life.
  • Kara Saunders, university registrar.
  • Christopher Delello, vice president for human resources.
  • Seval Yildirim, vice provost for inclusive excellence.
  • Sharon Nolan-Weiss, director, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The project team consists of:

  • Christina Candlena, assistant director, Enterprise Infrastructure Services.
  • Frances Fiscus, workplace data analyst, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Jonathan Havey, research analyst, Office of the Provost.
  • Angela Kuc, appointments and payroll director, Human Resources.
  • Joseph Rizzo, associate director, Office of the Registrar.
  • Steve Woodward, assistant director, Enterprise Application Services.
  • Jeff Dambrowski, technical supervisor, Enterprise Application Services.