Chosen Name Policy

An important new initiative around chosen names at Mount Holyoke College.

August 19, 2020

Dear members of the Mount Holyoke community, 

I write to you with news of an important next step in our commitment to affirming gender diversity at Mount Holyoke College. In August 2020, the College established a Chosen Name Policy to permit students, faculty and staff to indicate a name other than their legal name for official College use via our online system my.mountholyoke. This important initiative is being piloted this semester as we continue the work of developing policies and practices that are supportive of trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) members of our campus community. 

We know people may have other socio-cultural reasons for selecting a chosen name, and we hope this new process is reflective of the diversity of human experiences at Mount Holyoke. 

As we seek to cultivate supportive practices and policies for our TGNC students in particular, I’d also like to share with you that the College has established a new Affirming Practices for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People working group. The office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) will host virtual sessions in the coming weeks for individuals who may wish to learn more about the work of this group and/or provide feedback on the Chosen Name Policy. We will offer affinity-based sessions for members of the TGNC campus community as well as general sessions for all faculty, staff and students to learn about the policy. Please watch the College calendar and other regular publications for notification of the meeting dates and times.

We are a women’s college that is gender diverse and our collective effort to champion diversity, equity and inclusion are ongoing. We welcome the opportunity to be in dialogue with so many members of the community as we strive to create a more just community in which every member is valued and thrives. 

Finally, it is important to lift up the foundational work that inspired this new policy and more to come — work led tirelessly by a multitude of student leaders and numerous faculty and staff who have worked within campus organizations, coalitions and on committees focused on inclusion for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) individuals over the years. All of these efforts have led to this important moment in the College’s history as we continue to transform policies and practices to enact our vision for inclusive excellence at Mount Holyoke and beyond. 


Kijua Sanders-McMurtry
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer