Preferred First Name

Policy Number: 
Reason for Policy: 

To articulate the UO’s policy on use of preferred names that differ from an individual’s legal name.

Entities Affected by this Policy: 

All University of Oregon employees and students.

Responsible Office: 

Office of the Vice President for Student Life: 541-346-1137,

Enactment & Revision History: 

31 October 2017 – Policy number changed from 05.00.05 to III.09.01

12 November 2013 - Approved by the university president


I. Preamble

Currently, the UO allows for use of a preferred name, but additionally lists the legal name in the Find People directory, on class roll sheets, etc. This is a concern for transgender students who may still have a legal first name that confers one gender while having a preferred first name that may confer a different gender (e.g. Legally ‘John’ – preferred “Jennifer”). When legal names are still listed on class roll sheets and in the public Find People directory, it causes repeated and undue ‘outing’ every time a student starts a new class or anyone looks them up in the directory. The proposed policy takes into account the UO’s legal requirements and would not interfere with records where legal names are required (payroll and other official documents), allows the UO to deny requested first names when appropriate, but would allow more flexibility to list students with their preferred name only whenever possible.


II. Policy Statement

The university recognizes that many persons use first names other than their legal names to identify themselves. As long as the use of this preferred first name is not for an improper purpose, is not restricted by state or federal law and does not have an impact on the ability of the university to comply with state or federal law, the university will use "preferred first name" when possible in the course of university activities.


Therefore, it is the policy of the university that any current or former student or employee may choose a preferred first name in addition to that person’s legal name listed within the university’s information systems. The person's preferred first name shall be used in university communications and reporting except where the use of the legal name is required for university purposes. (Please refer to FAQ for further details.)


The university reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it is used improperly, including but not limited to, avoiding legal obligations or misrepresentation.


III. What Is a Preferred First Name?

A current or former student or employee may prefer to use a first name that is different from their legal name. Also, they may want to have this first name appear instead of their legal first name in the online directory and in other university records and documents. The university allows them to do this by setting a preferred first name. They should set the preferred first name in DuckWeb and it will then appear in the online directory and other records, such as Blackboard and the class roster. Some records, such as paychecks and financial aid documents, that require use of a legal name, will not include the preferred first name.


IV. Setting a Preferred First Name

Use Duckweb to set the preferred first name online. All individuals may do this under the personal information tab. If Duckweb is unavailable, a current or former employee may contact the payroll office in order to change preferred name and a current or former student should contact the registrar’s office.


V. Display of the Preferred First Name

Once established, preferred name will be used across university systems, where possible. The legal names will continue to be used for certain university records, documents, and business process where use of legal name is required by law or university policy.


VI. Frequently Asked Questions

a. Can any member of the UO community set a preferred first name?Individuals who have access to Duckweb can set preferred first names.

b. Can I set my preferred first name to whatever I want?Yes, but the university reserves the right to remove a preferred first name if it is used for an improper purpose (such as for misrepresentation).

c. Can I use my preferred first name for everything at the university?No. Your legal name will continue to be used in business processes that require use of the legal name, such as for payroll records and student transcripts.

d. What do I need to know about my ID card?

If you choose to utilize the preferred first name at the UO your UO ID card can no longer be used as proof of legal identity. This would impact its use as a form of ID for employment verification or other uses for those who do not have other forms of picture ID.

e. How do I correct or change my legal name for university systems?

Students can file a name change form through the Registrar's website or by email ( or by phone (541 346-2935)

Employees, including student employees can file a legal name change by completing the Address/Personal Data Form available on the Human Resources(Note: this form has not yet been created. Please call HR for more information.)

  • Volume III: Administration of Student Affairs
  • Chapter 9: Student Life, General
Original Source: 
UO Policy Statement