Pronoun Sharing and Disclosure Policy

Approved: 2022
Date Established: November 1, 2022
Responsible Office: Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Date Last Revised: n/a
Responsible Administrator: Vice President for Equity and Inclusion


Mount Holyoke College (MHC) is committed to affirming the self-determination and expression of all members of the campus community across College communications, documents and systems. Inviting the sharing of personal pronouns is a practice grounded in the College’s commitment to the equitable inclusion of transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) people. TGNC people have existed and persisted at MHC throughout history, and this policy serves as a key step toward addressing MHC systems that have excluded and marginalized students, faculty, staff and alums on the basis of gender identity and/or expression.

Scope and Responsibilities

All employees, students and volunteers of the College are encouraged to integrate pronoun sharing/disclosure opportunities in the communications, documents and systems that they navigate. Additionally, all College-affiliated individuals and representatives should identify opportunities to invite sharing of personal pronouns in interpersonal interactions. Concerns about compliance with this policy should be brought to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.



Personal pronouns serve an important role in expressing ourselves and how we would like to be addressed by others. The regular and consistent practice of using intentional pronouns aligns with the College’s commitment to non-discrimination as a women’s college that is gender diverse. This policy, in tandem with the Mount Holyoke College Chosen Name Policy, seeks to create a campus environment where all members can exercise their capacity for self-authorship and where all members recognize and address others in the ways they want to be known. Integrating a pronoun-sharing practice into everyday interactions for people of all genders is vital in creating a community where all people feel they can fully participate in their environment.

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Mount Holyoke College consulted with members of the Affirming Practices for Trans and Gender-Nonconforming People (TGNC) Working Group, a coalition composed of faculty, staff and students. This policy will be regularly revisited by the TGNC Working Group and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure that it remains responsive to and reflective of community needs.

Policy statement

This policy provides specific support to Mount Holyoke College employees, students and volunteers in their ongoing development of documents, communications and systems. In any context wherein an individual’s name is collected or shared, an opportunity should be made available for that person to share their personal pronouns. While the opportunity to share personal pronouns must be made available, individuals are not required, and shall not be compelled, to disclose that information. Additionally, every effort should be made to communicate the purpose for which that information is being collected and the ways in which it will be stored or shared. When individuals are asked and choose to share their personal pronouns, it is expected that all members of our community will address individuals using their chosen pronouns.

Policy Violations

Concerns about alignment with this policy should be reported through the Bias Reporting Form and will be evaluated in accordance with those protocols. Appropriate resources and training may be provided to better support policy compliance. If an incident is determined to constitute gender-based harassment, it will be assessed and addressed in alignment with Mount Holyoke College policies around non-discrimination and gender-based harassment.


Standards for policy

Individuals within our community should make every effort to provide support to individuals who identify across the gender-diversity spectrum. The Chosen Name and Pronoun Policy are specific measures to support trans and gender-nonconforming members of the campus community through intentional practices that affirm the multiplicity of gender identities that exist among our students, faculty, staff and alum.

Printed Documents, communications and electronic systems

Whenever personal information is collected and communicated as a matter of record, a data entry field should be included as an opportunity for individuals to disclose their personal pronouns. This includes, but is not limited to, intake forms, registration documents and check-in lists. Community members are welcome to disclose their personal pronouns on any written materials on which their name is listed. Examples include name badges, email signatures, letterhead and profiles on electronic/digital MHC platforms.

Interpersonal settings

In settings where personal information is shared or requested, an opportunity should be provided for participants to share their personal pronouns when possible. This can be modeled by the host, leader or facilitator of the event if that person feels comfortable disclosing their pronouns, or that person may otherwise invite participants to disclose their pronouns in a method appropriate to the setting.

Procedures for compliance

The required components of policy procedure are outlined below. Departments can develop additional internal language relevant to their business processes that support compliance with this policy. Review and approval of internal procedures by the policy administrator is recommended.

Pronoun disclosure in written/print materials

When inviting personal information disclosure in written/printed media (check-in sheets, hard copy intake forms, etc.), a blank entry field or series of checkboxes should be provided for participants to include their personal pronouns if they wish to share that information.

Language should be included on the form or document to indicate how and in what contexts those shared pronouns will appear (e.g., “will be used when addressing a person in the classroom,” “will be printed on-site onto name badges,” “will not be shared,” etc.).

The list of available pronoun options can be viewed on and will be regularly reviewed and updated by the Affirming Practices for Trans and Gender-Nonconforming People (TGNC) Working Group. If you’d like to recommend additional pronouns to add, please contact

Pronoun selection in digital systems

A centralized location for students, faculty and staff to share their pronouns utilizing a selected list of options now exists in the following College systems:

  • my.mtholyoke
  • Moodle
  • Google Contacts
  • Pathways
  • Embark
  • OneCard

When inviting personal information selection in digital/electronic format, a field should be made available for community members to share their personal pronouns. This field should exist across all compatible platforms/systems that facilitate or enable user-to-user interaction and communication. All new platforms/systems that facilitate or enable such interactions should be vetted for pronoun field compatibility before implementation.

Wherever possible, and as directly adjacent to the pronoun collection field as possible, language should be included to indicate how and in what contexts those shared pronouns will appear (e.g. “appended to the individual’s name in all contexts,” “will be only visible to specific parties,” “will appear on a publicly-visible profile page,” etc.).

For questions or concerns about implementation, departments should consult directly with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Guidelines for policy

The information and resources provided below can serve as a guide to and starting point for providing opportunities for others in the community to share their pronouns on documents, forms and other points of contact.

Personal pronouns and context

People may use different personal pronouns in different contexts for a variety of reasons. When creating opportunities for pronoun disclosure, it is important to be clear about the context in which those pronouns will be utilized and visible. This transparency is critical in making sure that community members are equipped to make well-informed decisions about what information they would like to share, and it opens the door to further communication and trust-building.

Updating information

Campus community members should regularly check for updates to pronoun information at contextually appropriate intervals. It is the responsibility of all individuals to manage and update their personal information, including their chosen name and pronouns.


These definitions apply to terms as they are used in this policy.

A short word which serves as a substitute for the unique or proper name of a person. Examples include you, her, they, his, my, zir, etc.

“[T]he internal capacity to define one’s beliefs, identity and social relations” (Baxter-Magolda, 2008).

A person’s ability to define their sense of self, make their own choices and control their own life.

(From the MHC Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy) Gender-based harassment includes unwelcome conduct of verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or sex stereotyping that, as determined by a reasonable person, is severe, pervasive or objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education program or activity when one or both of the following conditions below is present:

  • Submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of the individual’s employment, evaluation of academic work, participation or enrollment at the College. This is often referred to as “quid pro quo.”
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s working, learning or living environment or limits the individual’s ability to participate or benefit from the College’s employment, education programs or activities by creating an intimidating, threatening, abusive, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive environment using both a subjective and objective perspective. This is often referred to as a “hostile environment.”