Policies + Disclosures

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Transgender Student Policy Related to Gender Identity/Expression

In order to provide support to transgender and gender variant students who, for whatever reason, need special accommodations due to gender identity/expression, we encourage students to speak with the Office of Student Affairs which can help students with navigating the policies and practices of the college.

RISD is committed to having safe and accessible campus restrooms. We recommend that individuals make choices about restroom usage based on their own level of comfort and their gender identity or expression. We know that many transgender individuals feel safer and more comfortable using single-stall restrooms and there are single-stall restrooms in most buildings. Contact the Department of Residence for a list of single-stall restrooms on campus.

If you find that one of the bathrooms on our list or that any single-stall restroom on campus is labeled incorrectly, please contact the Student Affairs Office.

Having a "sex" category on forms that is limited to "Male" and "Female" makes transgender students feel disregarded, and with no means to identify themselves, they remain invisible to administrators and their needs continue to be overlooked. With these concerns in mind, the college has removed the “sex” category and where appropriate replaced it with a “gender” category.

Records and Documents

Name Change
A certified copy of a court order or documentation from a health professional that a gender change is underway is required if a change in gender and name is to be recorded on a student’s official record. For those students that have not officially made the change yet, but are in the process, please contact Student Affairs to fill out a supplemental form (in addition to the Change of Name form found on the Registrar’s page at www.risd.edu/registrar)  that highlights the implications of changing one’s name in the system and what financial risks that may entail. Only in these approved cases will the Registrar’s Office change one’s first name to their first initial. Legal birth names will be stored in the student information system for archival purposes.

The college recognizes that as a community many of its members use names other than their legal names to identify themselves. As long as the use of this different name is not for the purposes of misrepresentation, the College acknowledges that a "preferred name" can and should be used wherever possible in the course of College business and education.

A legal name change needs to happen through the state of the person’s legal residence (in RI, it’s done at the town level). In any state a person can change their name to anything, as long as they are not trying to escape past debts or picking the name of a famous person. A note from a doctor/surgeon/psychologist is NOT required. Once the name is changed with the home town/city, the person can go to the local Social Security office to get a new Social Security card, and then use that to change everything else, including a driver’s license or state-issued ID.

Email Account
When you first set up your e-mail account with the college, you can submit the preferred names that you are currently using regardless of whether or not you have legally changed you name. If you have already set up your e-mail account, then the Office of Information Technology Help Desk can change the name that is used with the e-mail account. You can request this change by contacting the helpdesk directly at 401 454-6767.

We recognize that it is important for your college identification card to reflect your current appearance and name. In order to meet this need, we offer the following options:

If you have legally changed your name and have changed your name with the Registrar’s office, you can obtain a new ID card with your new name for $5.00 from Card Services.

If you have not yet changed your name, you can obtain an ID card that only lists your first initial and your last name, contact Card Services.

If you have set a preferred name in Web Advisor, you may be able to use your preferred name on your ID card, Contact Card Services.

Name Change on Campus Records (transcripts, diploma, etc.)
In order to change your name on your transcripts, diploma or academic records, you must legally change your name. After a legal name change, the college can change the name on all official documents. Visit the Registrar’s page for the Name Change Policy & Change of Name Form.

RISD does not discriminate on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. RISD is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all students, if you have noticed something that could help to make the campus more transgender-friendly, please feel free to contact one of the offices below:

Residence Life
30 Waterman Street
401 454- 6650

Student Affairs
Carr House, 210 Benefit Street, 3rd Floor
401 454-6600

Crime Prevention Office
Carr House, 210 Benefit Street, 2nd Floor
401 427-6977

Multicultural Affairs
Carr House, 210 Benefit Street, 2nd Floor
401 277-4957

Policy Definitions 

Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming- Anyone whose gender identity and/or gender expression does not match society's expectations of how an individual who was assigned a particular sex at birth should behave in relation to their gender.

Gender Identity - An individual's sense of being either male or female, man or woman, or something other in-between.

Gender Expression - The external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as masculine or feminine, such as dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions.

Biological or Legal Sex - The sex legally assigned to an individual at birth, usually reflected in a birth certificate.

Title - This includes a prefix such as "Mr.", "Mrs.," "Miss" and "Ms." Legal Name - The name legally given to an individual, which may be memorialized on a birth certificate, a court order, or certificate of naturalization.

Preferred First Name and Pronoun - The name and pronoun used by a transgender student that corresponds to the student's gender identity/expression.

Providence's riverfront park offers a great setting for drawing and sketching, just across from RISD's Mandle Center for
Living and Learning.