Chosen Name Policy

Policy Information
Policy TitleChosen Name Policy
Responsible OfficeInformation Technology Services
Policy TypePersonnel and Payroll
Policy Number635
Last Revision Date10/2/2023


Binghamton University is committed to creating a safe and supportive learning environment, to becoming more inclusive community, and to fulfilling its obligations under federal and state laws, regulations, and executive orders. Essential to these objectives is the maintenance of an environment in which individual dignity is respected and the richness of human diversity is welcomed. The University recognizes that many members of its community use names other than their legal or official names provided to the University (legal name) to identify themselves. For some students and employees, a chosen name may be an important component to their identity. Therefore, the University has established guidelines that allow students and employees to indicate their chosen first names to the University community even if they have not changed their legal name.


It is the policy of Binghamton University to allow any student or employee to identify a chosen first name, in addition to their legal name, in Binghamton University information systems. Chosen names will be displayed in lieu of the legal name in end user facing systems that do not have a legal requirement to use a legal name. Binghamton University students and employees must still be able to provide government issued identification with their legal name where and when required. Chosen names may only be changed once per semester.

Chosen names shall not be used for the purpose of misrepresentation, avoiding legal obligations, or otherwise in any manner that violates University policies or federal, state, or local laws. Chosen names that are not administratively possible to implement, including without limitation, symbols or images are prohibited. The University reserves the right to remove any chosen name without prior notice to the individual due to misuse or abuse of this chosen name policy, including but not limited to, misrepresentation, attempting to avoid legal obligations, or the use of highly offensive or derogatory names.

Chosen names will be used in the following systems and records:

  • University ID card
  • Card access system
  • MyBinghamton
  • MyCourses
  • Banner Class Roster
  • STARREZ (Residential Life database)
  • New student orientation databases
  • Binghamton University Public Directory, unless a FERPA information block has been requested
  • Email display name
  • Meal plan, library, and health services display name
  • For employees: Human Resources self-service and online time and attendance

Legal names will continue to be used for official University records, including but not limited to the following:

  • International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) documentation
  • Student accounts documentation
  • Financial aid
  • Federal requests for information
  • National Student Clearinghouse
  • Transcripts
  • Athletics rosters where necessary for NCAA compliance
  • University Police Department
  • Health Services records, health insurance
  • Human Resources employment records, employee reports and payroll


For purposes of this policy, the following terms are defined:

  • Chosen name – a chosen name is a name someone wishes to be known by in the University community that is different from their legal name. Binghamton’s policy covers chosen first names only. Surnames (last names/family names) and primary names can only be changed in our records when a student or employee has obtained a legal name change.
  • Surname – a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of a personal name that indicates a person’s family.
  • Primary name – The primary identifier when a person has only one name.
  • Legal name – A legal name is the name that appears on your government issued identification, i.e., passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, United States Social Security Card, or Permanent Resident Card.