Preferred Name Policy



The purpose of this Preferred Name Policy is to ensure that Hudson County Community College (“College”) enables members of the campus community to use and be known by a preferred name. This policy is applicable to all students, faculty, and staff at the College.


The College and its Board of Trustees (“Board”) recognize that many individuals use and are known by a name other than their legal name because of their gender identity, cultural background, or other aspects of their social or personal identity. College students, faculty and staff shall be allowed to use and be known by a preferred first name. All College offices and personnel are expected to respect an individual's request to be known by their preferred name, and to use that name when interacting with, addressing or referring to the individual who has selected a preferred name following the process outlined in this policy. The College will make good faith efforts to utilize an individual’s preferred name throughout the College community, where feasible and appropriate, and to update reports, documents, processes, and systems approved for display and use of preferred names. The College cannot guarantee that the preferred name will appear in all locations or in all circumstances. The Board delegates to the President the responsibility to develop procedures and guidelines for the implementation of this policy.

Approved on: March 10, 2020
Approved by: Board of Trustees
Category: Student Affairs, Human Resources
Subcategory: Preferred Name
Scheduled for Review: March, 2022
Responsible Department: Student Affairs and Enrollment



Preferred/Chosen Name Procedure

1. Definitions

1.01 Preferred/Chosen Name – The name by which an individual wishes to be known and to have appear in College systems and when conducting day-to-day College business because it affirms that individual's gender, culture and other aspects of social identity. The preferred/chosen name will consist of a preferred/chosen first name. The preferred/chosen name does not affect the individual's middle or last name, which must remain the individual's legal name.
1.02 Legal Name – The name that is recorded on an individual's legal identification and used on formal legal records at the College. 

2. Requesting a Preferred/Chosen Name

2.01 To request a preferred/chosen name after admission to the College, a student must complete the Preferred/Chosen Name Request Form (
2.02 To request a change in preferred/chosen name or to revert back to use of a legal name, the student must complete a new Preferred/Chosen Name Request Form.
2.03 To request a preferred/chosen name, to change a preferred/chosen name or revert back to use of a legal name, College faculty or staff must contact Human Resources.

3. Approval and Prohibited Use

3.01 When an individual requests use of a preferred/chosen name, the individual's records will be updated to display the preferred/chosen name in a timely manner, typically within five (5) business days, except in the following circumstances:

a) The name is intended to misrepresent the person's identity and/or misappropriate the identity of another person or organization.
b) The use of the name is an attempt to avoid a legal obligation.
c) The appearance of the requested name on the College ID or other records would be harmful to the reputation or interests of the College; and/or
d) The name is derogatory, obscene, conveys an offensive message, or is otherwise inappropriate.

If the preferred/chosen name is prohibited for any one of these four reasons, the College reserves the right to deny the request for use of a preferred/chosen name. In these circumstances, the individual requesting the preferred/chosen name shall be notified of the reason(s) for denial and be given the opportunity to address the concerns. The final determination shall be made at the reasonable discretion of the Chief Student Affairs Officer (or designee) for students or the Chief Human Resources Officer (or designee) for College faculty and staff.

4. Appearance of the Preferred/Chosen Name

4.01 Once approved, the preferred/chosen name will appear and be used in the following College documents, systems, and processes:

a) Hudson County Community College ID card (ID)

i. Students may need to use an ID with a legal name to enter clinical or internship sites.
ii. Once approved, individuals may obtain an ID card with the preferred/chosen name imprinted on the card in place of the legal name. The first card issued with a preferred/chosen name imprinted will be provided at no charge. If a replacement card is requested, the individual will be charged the normal fee for issuance of a replacement card.

b) College E-mail
c) Class Rosters
d) Advising Lists
e) Learning Management System (Canvas)
f) “MyHudson” Portal

5. Use of Legal Name

5.01 The College will not use the preferred/chosen name on documents or in systems that require the use of a legal name for legal or business-related reasons. The individual's legal name will continue to be used for these records, which include but are not limited to the following:

a) Admissions records
b) Official transcripts
c) Enrollment verifications
d) Employment and personnel records
e) Paychecks and tax documents
f) Financial aid records
g) Medical records
h) Disciplinary records
i) Public Safety/Security reports
j) Law enforcement records 
k) Study Abroad documents and travel records
l) Mandated Reporting
m) Identification to enter clinical or internship sites

5.02 The College will change a legal name on legal and business-related documents only upon receipt of documentation evidencing a legal name change.

6. Diploma Name

6.01 The College considers the diploma to be a ceremonial document, and students may request that either a legal name or a preferred/chosen name appear on a diploma. If the diploma will be used for any type of legal verification, it is recommended the student request their legal name be used.

6.02 Students who request a preferred/chosen name to appear on their diploma, and who later wish to have a diploma issued in their legal name or any other name may be charged a fee for that service.

7. Background Checks and Legal Processes

7.01 Individuals who request and use a preferred/chosen name must be aware that the preferred/chosen name will constitute an alias that they may be required to disclose in some circumstances including during background checks and other legal processes. This responsibility may be lifelong and may cover each preferred/chosen name used even if they later change or discontinue use of the preferred/chosen name.

7.02 Individuals are encouraged to candidly disclose the existence of any aliases, when appropriate, to avoid discrepancies or the appearance they are attempting to conceal the information. Individuals must also be aware that the existence of an alias may trigger heightened scrutiny during certain federal or state security clearances or background checks, especially in cases where the individual does not disclose the information to authorities.

7.03 The College will disclose and/or confirm the preferred/chosen name(s) used by the individual in accordance with any lawful request for this information, and/or upon request by the individual.

8. Non-compliance and Complaints

8.01 When an individual who has selected a preferred/chosen name in accordance with this policy believes that their selection and use of a preferred/chosen name is not being accommodated as required by this policy, the individual is encouraged to resolve the issue informally by communicating their concern directly to the College personnel or office that has failed to interact with, address or refer to the individual using the preferred/chosen name.

8.02 In cases where a student feels that they would benefit from additional support or advocacy, or desires to initiate a formal complaint about non-compliance in the use of such student’s preferred/chosen name, they may contact the Chief Student Affairs Officer.

8.03 In cases where a member of the College faculty or staff feels that they would benefit from additional support or advocacy, or desires to initiate a formal complaint about non-compliance in the use of such member’s preferred/chosen name, that member may contact the Chief Human Resources Officer.

9. Use, Abuse, or Misuse

9.01 A Hudson County Community College student ID card with a preferred/chosen name imprinted on it may be used as a valid identification card (ID) within the College. However, an ID card with a preferred/chosen name imprinted may not be used as an alternate to a legal ID.

Approved on: March 2020 
Approved by: Cabinet 
Category: Student Affairs, Human Resources 
Subcategory: Preferred Name 
Scheduled for Review: March 2022 
Responsible Department: Student Affairs and Enrollment 

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