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Gender Diversity at IWU

Much progress has taken place in the last year to provide care and support for students who are Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC), as well as to reduce institutional barriers that students with marginalized gender identities encounter. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion invites students to share their experiences of support on campus or areas where the campus continues to struggle with creating equitable and supportive educational environments. Professional staff in the office are available to discuss and clarify any of the following practices or services.

Universal Bathroom Map

Everyone has the right to meet their basic needs in a safe environment, without feeling threatened or intimidated. All-gender restrooms provide an opportunity for our community members to enter a restroom without being questioned if they are in the "right place."

Find all-gender restrooms on campus

Preferred Name Process

To change your preferred name on campus records (class rosters, online course modules, campus IDs, diplomas, communications, housing materials, and more), please update your profile in Banner Self-Service.

To update your preferred first name, pronouns, and gender identification in Banner Self-Service:

  1. Go to MyIWU .
  2. In the left-hand navigation, click the Banner Self Service dropdown, then My Profile.
  3. Click Personal Information.
  4. In the Personal Details section, click Edit.
  5. In the Preferred First Name field, enter the name you go by. (First Name will be your legal name).
  6. In the Personal Pronoun Field, select from the dropdown.
  7. In the Gender Identification field, select from the dropdown.

Some records require the student's legal name to be used, such as those mandated by government entities and agencies, including items like financial aid or visa documents, for example. In cases of external mandate, the student's legal name will take precedence over the preferred name.

On campus surveys and intake forms, students may be queried on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Much like that collected around race, SES, religious tradition, etc., this demographic information is optional. Such data is used in aggregate to help determine institutional successes in challenges in providing equitable learning environments where students are able to succeed without regard for differences in sexual orientation and gender identity. The first instance that students have to identify their sexual orientation or gender identity on university forms is in the housing process following the Admissions deposit.

If you are not out off-campus or prefer to use your legal name for off-campus communications for another reason, please contact the Registrar’s Office and they will get this indicated in your Banner profile. 


Changing the Name Displayed on your Email

When anyone sends an email, the name of the sender is displayed along with your email address. This name can be changed by following this step-by-step guide .


Telling your professor your name and pronouns

If you update your Banner Self Service profile before the beginning of a semester, your professor will hopefully have an accurate list with your name and pronouns. If not, or if you change these mid-semester, you may need to send an email or talk to your professor about this. To help you do this, we’ve drafted an email template to send. 

Dear Professor [last name of professor]

My name is [your preferred name], and I am in your [name of course] class on [days] at [time] this semester. I am contacting you to let you know that my name will show up on your roster as [legal name], but I would prefer to go by [preferred name/ name you go by]. I would appreciate it if you called me by this name and use the pronouns [pronouns you use] to refer to me in class.

Thank you very much for your understanding.

[preferred name/ name you go by]


Campus Housing

With specific regards to TGNC students, housing staff will always recognize and respect the stated gender identity of the students with whom we work. It is our intention to work closely with students to find safe and comfortable housing spaces in keeping with the students gender identity and expression. The Office of Residential Life has documented the ways that TGNC student needs are addressed in campus housing. TGNC students are also invited to take part in the LGBTQ+ Roommate Matching process as a way of being paired up with a like-minded and supportive roommate.

Students are further invited to explore Pfeiffer Hall's Rainbow Floor, a gender inclusive community that serves as a counterspace, allowing community members refuge from uncomfortable situations involving gender in more traditionally configured residential areas. This space also serves to promote inclusion and support within the community. Finally, the Rainbow floor provides 14 students with the opportunity to live in a traditional dorm setting that is inclusive to all genders, sexual orientations, and gender expressions.

Every campus residence hall features a gender inclusive bathroom. Students are encouraged to use a bathroom that corresponds to their sex or gender identity, depending on whichever option they feel is safer, or to utilize bathrooms that are designated gender inclusive.

Residential Life staff members receive annual training at the beginning of each academic year on issues of diversity and inclusion, including the needs and experiences of LGBQA+ and TGNC students. Students who experience residential environments that are challenging can find allies in the housing staff who work to foster richly diversity, welcoming and inclusive communities. Please share your experiences with us, so that we can provide support and assistance, and foster a positive housing experience, or report acts of intolerance using the institution's bias response protocol.


Athletics, Intramurals and Wellness

TGNC+ students who wish to compete in Varsity athletics should contact the  Athletics Office. Student activities also offers all students the opportunity to participate in Intramural athletic activities. When an activity makes a gender designation, an individual who has transitioned to a different gender can participate in the division of the individual's current gender. If an individual is in the process of transitioning to a different gender, participation in a particular gender designated activity will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

The Shirk Center offers a locker room space that is gender inclusive.


Fraternities and Sororities

TGNC students have been proud and productive members of IWU's Greek community.  If you are interested in affiliation, please contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life  to explore options and opportunities.


Dean of Students / Student Rights and Responsibilities

IWU has a number of policies and practices that support the rights of TNGC students to fair and equitable treatment. IWU's non-discrimination policy, bias incident reporting protocol, and harrasment and intolerance policy  are examples of IWU's commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive educational environment. Students who experience acts of intolerance or exclusion are invited to meet with Dean of Students Office staff to discuss options for how they might proceed, and how institutional authority might be brought to bear to rectify wrongs.


Health Services

Staff in Health Services understand the unique challenges that accompany students with marginalized gender identities, and welcome the opportunity to provide services to TGNC students in accordance with their needs. While the IWU student insurance plan does not provide support for HRT or surgical procedures related to gender affirmation, referrals can be made to local providers who can help assist with decisions or strategies that students might implement as they seek these therapies. Services provided through the Arnold Health Services are at no cost to students.


Counseling and Consultation Services

Staff in Counseling and Consultation Services are trained to serve the needs of IWU's diverse clientele, including needs specific to TGNC students, both around gender identity, but also around its intersections with other identities and experiences, associated or differentiated trauma, and general concerns related to the campus experience. Referrals can also be made to local therapists who are trans supportive or have experience working with people struggling with gender identity. Services provided through the Counseling and Consultation Services are at no cost to students.


Legal Name Change

Check out The National Center for Transgender Equality's website for information about updating your name and gender on state and federal IDs and records. US Birth Certificates also has a helpful Transgender Birth Certificates by State guide.


Additional Resources

Sharla Brown-Ajayi - Discovery Officer

Department - Advancement Office