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Presidents Update: Ben Statham-Wilkins

Throughout the academic year, I have been working to eradicate the use of deadnames by university systems and staff. There have been a number of steps involved in this process so far. I would like to make students aware of what has happened and would appreciate your further vigilance, support and feedback to ensure that we continue working with FX Plus and Falmouth University to ensure nobody has to experience the use of their deadname again.

Photo of Falmouth President Ben Statham-Wilkins

Thank you to Pride Soc for their continued feedback and collaboration with the SU, they have made a crucial impact for our students through their work.

In September, students used the Octopus tool to report issues with deadnames being used in the timetabling system. This was resolved through necessary conversations with the university.

In November, it became apparent that software such as the learning space, Connect 2 and library services needed to be updated to erase deadnames, making chosen names clear to anyone accessing these systems. The IT team have been a great support in this work, working quickly to update the learning space in mid-November.

When IT reviewed the code for Connect 2, they found that the system specifically uses  the ‘known as’ name where it has been populated by the student and only uses the legal name if a known name is not populated. This investigation, however, has found 90 students with mismatching names.

The IT update to the library service software went live at the end of November.

More recently, students shared that when booking a tutorial with a lecturer, deadnames were appearing on their calendar and in their lecturers’ calendars. With this feedback, I was able to approach the university and FX Plus to resolve the issue quickly.

Alongside the resolution of the system, in Academic Board meetings, I insisted that course directors reaffirm with staff why it is inappropriate to use deadnames and the impact that this has on our students.

Further to this, student feedback made me aware of deadnames being used on the reprinting of ID cards. I have reported this issue and hope to see these changes completed by Study Block 3.

In light of the system updates made so far and graduation fast approaching, we would encourage you to check that your name is being used for your certificate and announcements on the day. This is a special day for all graduates so we want to ensure you get to experience the day as your true self.

 

Statement from Pride Soc:

Last year as a society we ran a campaign on deadnaming, the practice of using the birth name of trans and non-binary people. We aimed to raise awareness of the harm it causes.

As part of our campaign, we asked you to tell us about your experiences of deadnaming, thanks again to everyone who participated! Since then we have reached out to the SU Presidents with our survey findings on deadnaming.

We are pleased to inform you that the SU Presidents have passed this information onto the Academic Board and the Directors of the school, FXPlus members, VCEG members and the Vice-Chancellor. The Presidents have reassured us that the IT issues surrounding deadnames have been resolved and that ID cards will be updated with changes in study block 3.

 

Thank you to the students who contacted me regarding these issues and to Falmouth University and FXPlus for their support in ensuring deadnames are no longer used.

If you have any further feedback associated with any of the progress made so far or you experience deadnaming elsewhere in your university experience, please report it to The SU. You can email us, message us on social media channels, use the Octopus tool or come in and chat to the team.

Our trans and non-binary students are invited to share more information about your experiences in our Trans and Non-Binary Inclusion Survey to further the SU's understanding of your university experiences and create further change for you and your communities.

Update on the 8 March 2022: It is OK for students to use their preferred name in at the Falmouth University graduation ceremony as long as they notify the Graduation Team of this in advance so your name can be added to the ceremony notes. It can’t be done on the day as it needs to go onto a presentation for the stage/seating plan. To update your name for graduation you need to contact us at graduation@falmouth.ac.uk

 

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