At Siena, diversity is an invitation to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual, as well as the cultural differences that enrich us all. Siena strives to ensure that individuals from all backgrounds and perspectives are served equitably. The diversity that students, staff and faculty bring to the College are viewed as a resource, strength and benefit to the College as a whole.

Siena recognizes that some students prefer to identify themselves by a first name other than their legal name.  Last names can be changed only with a legal name change.  Under Siena’s Preferred Name policy, any student may choose to identify a preferred first name, in addition to their legal name.  The College acknowledges that a preferred name should be used whenever possible in the course of College related systems and documents, except where the use of the legal name is required by college business or legal need. 

Procedures to Request Preferred Name

 Students who choose to use a preferred name should submit the Preferred Name Request Form to the Office of the Dean of Students. 

You will be contacted by the Office of the Dean of Students upon review of the completed request form.  Should you have questions regarding the request form, please contact 518-783-2328 or stop by Sarazen Student Union, Room 302

Preferred Name Frequently Asked Questions:

Who can request a Preferred Name?  Any Siena student can request the use of a preferred name to be used whenever possible in College related systems and documents.

Do I have to use a Preferred Name?  No.  The use of a Preferred Name is optional.

Are there any Preferred Name restrictions?  The Office of the Dean of Students has the authority to deny any request for a preferred name or remove a preferred name, especially in cases where the preferred name was created for the purpose of avoiding legal obligation or misrepresentation; names which are not administratively possible to implement (such as symbols or images); or names deemed inappropriate, offensive or derogatory.  Preferred name requests may also be denied due to multiple requests from the same person. 

How do I get my Preferred Name on my Siena SAINT ID?  Students can obtain a new SAINT ID card with the preferred name after receiving notification of approval and upon request to the Business Services counter in the Sarazen Student Union, Room 229.

Where will my Preferred Name appear?  Preferred name will be used whenever possible in the course of College related systems and documents, including but not limited to:

  • Online directory
  • Class rosters
  • Faculty Advisee Lists
  • Degree Audit
  • Library Records
  • Community Living Rosters
  • Saint ID card
  • Academic Honors List
  • Commencement Program
  • Diploma


Where will my Legal Name be used?  The legal name will continue to be used in connection with certain official documents, including but not limited to:

    • Official and Unofficial Academic Transcripts
    • Student Health Services
    • Public Safety Records
    • Payroll Documentation.
    • Financial Aid and Billing Records and Communication
    • Study Abroad and Study Away (i.e. travel documents, signature documents)
    • Tax Forms

Does a change to the use of a Preferred Name constitute a legal name change?  Students should note that use of a preferred name does not constitute a legal name change.  Please note that some records may require the use of legal names only.  In order to change the name on certain official college records, you must legally change your name.  A legal name change is recognized by submitting a social security card, passport, and/or government issued visa with the new legal name. 

What can I do if my Preferred Name request is denied?  In the rare circumstance when a denial is made, the student may appeal the decision in writing within five business days to the Dean of Students.  The Dean of Students will convene an appeal committee comprising of the following representatives or their designee: Associate Vice-President of Student Life, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Title IX Coordinator/EOS, and Director of the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center to consider the appeal. The committee will make a formal recommendation to the Dean of Students regarding approval of the preferred name request.

How do I remove a Preferred Name?  Students who no longer wish to use a preferred name should submit the Preferred Name Request Form to the Office of the Dean of Students. 

Student Privacy Considerations

Consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Siena College allows for the release of directory information, which includes a student’s preferred name. If a student does not want disclosure of the preferred name to external organizations or persons, students may suppress the release of the directory information by making a written request to the Registrar’s Office. Students who do so will have a confidentiality hold on all of their records. If a student has a confidentiality hold on his/her records, not only will this information not appear in any College directories, but the College will also be unable to place the student’s name in the commencement program at the time of graduation, or verify the student’s degree, major or enrollment for possible employment, credit-card applications, or insurance or mortgage-qualifying purposes. A student who has a confidentiality hold on his/her records may rescind a “no release clause” at any time in writing to the Registrar's Office.

Additional Information

For additional questions regarding the Preferred Name policy, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students by visiting Sarazen Student Union, Room 302 or by calling 518-783-2328.