BC Admins and IT Department Develop Slot to File Preferred Names in BC System

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Brooklyn College students who use a preferred name will not be “outed” in class this spring.

After a Brooklyn College student’s legal name, instead of their preferred name, appeared on a professor’s roster last semester following an oversight in the CUNY system, which accidentally disclosed their gender identity to their peers, a BC spokesperson told the Kingsman on Monday that Web Central has been adjusted. Classroom rosters will list a preferred name that corresponds with a student’s gender identity or expression.

“We are happy to report that Brooklyn College systems, including rosters and online tools, will now show a student’s registered preferred name instead of the official name,” a BC spokesperson said in an email.  

According to the BC spokesperson, the college’s ITS Department searched all Brooklyn College managed databases, changing any previously logged names to an on-file preferred name.

This impacts the internal databases that support online tools such as BC Portal, as well as SALI, a program that provides easy access to student, instructor and class data, BC Navigator Mobile apps and Brooklyn College emailing systems.

The BC spokesperson continued, “Third party external systems that we provide data to, such as Hobsons, TK20, Bulldog Connection, Communications cloud emailing system, will get the preferred names the next time they do a student data load (this may vary with each system).”

Within the past seven days, The director of Brooklyn College’s IT department, Mark Gold, has worked with his staff to resolve the issue.

“The college has directed us to implement the change,” Gold said in an email on Feb. 27.  “ITS is working on ensuring that our systems always use any preferred name that has been logged into CUNYfirst.”

In an email, Gold said journalism kept the issue “on the front burner” and “got it resolved.” However it was only two weeks ago that administrators were notified of the problem, nearly four months after the investigative story about Brooklyn College systems “outing” students was published.

“I have not yet gotten a decision from those who manage student enrollment support, but I have requested that they come to a decision as soon as possible, so that this can be resolved one way or another,” Gold said in an email on Feb. 22.  

According to a statement released on Feb. 23, a spokesperson for Brooklyn College’s Communications and Marketing Department, Assistant Vice President Jason Carey, said the issue is “delicate” and requires the collaboration of several college dependencies.  

“The administration wants to make sure we find a comprehensive solution that will address the needs of all our students, hopefully by the end of this semester,” he said.

Carolina Torres, a representative from Brooklyn College‘s LGBT Alliance, said the Alliance is satisfied with the progress of improving in-classroom connections for trans and nonbinary students.

“It’s very affirming to have your pronouns and name respected and used [correctly], especially in the classroom,” Torres said. “Trans and nonbinary students will have a more positive college experience if the portals and faculty members respect their preferred names.”

As Brooklyn College rosters are upgraded to list preferred names, single-occupancy restrooms will be revised as well, administrators said.    

Brooklyn College President Michelle J. Anderson sent an email on March 1, stating that single occupancy bathrooms on campus will be labeled gender-neutral. Anderson wants to affirm the college’s support of transgender and non-binary students, despite the “different perspective” of the new administration.

While the ITS department has reconditioned in-house systems, a BC spokesperson said CUNY has not yet developed a policy to fix CUNY-managed systems, including CUNYfirst, Blackboard, ePermit and CUNY Portal.

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