Is there anything American colleges and universities won’t justify in the name of “inclusivity” and “diversity”? The Dean of Student Affairs at Bowdoin College just sent out this stupid crap:

Dear students,

Many offices on campus have been working together since 2014 to launch the Lived Name Initiative, which lets students, faculty, and staff specify a name they go by that may differ from their legal name. Allowing people in our community to be known by the name they go by is an important part of creating an inclusive community.

This welcome change benefits people who may prefer to use a middle name, who have changed their marital status, who go by a name that aligns with their gender identity, or who use a different name in English than their native language or country of origin name.

Beginning in January, your updated lived name will be shown as the default in Polaris, Blackboard, Workday, eBear, the online campus directory, in your Bowdoin email display name, and if you’d like, on your OneCard. That’s a lot of system integration!

As students, you will have the opportunity to update your lived name on the Enrollment Form at the start of the spring semester. After that, you may update your lived name at any time in the Student Biographical Change Form available through the registrar’s office.

Bowdoin will continue to store your legal name because it is required in a few areas of the College. For more information about where lived and legal names for students are used on campus and externally, as well as additional details, please visit the registrar office’s Name Changes webpage.

This initiative is sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs, the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, Information Technology, and the Division of Student Affairs. On behalf of the sponsors, we see this as an important step in affirming an inclusive community.

For more information, please contact Peter Wiley or Kate Stern.

Best regards,

Tim Foster

Dean of Student Affairs

Affirming an inclusive community. Right. It costs $53,400 to attend Bowdoin College for a year. The reader who sent this in comments, “The bureaucratized Orwellianism at work here is beyond parody.” Guess the Office of Inclusion And Diversity has to justify its existence some kind of way.

UPDATE: What annoys me is not that the school is allowing people to register nicknames, which is sensible enough (“Rod” is my nickname), but that they’re turning this into an occasion to Celebrate Inclusivity™, and to make it a matter of social justice. — RD]

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