An update in our work to build an inclusive campus
Duke students can now update their Mobile DukeCard to reflect chosen or preferred first names, thanks to a collaboration between the Duke Student Government (DSG), Blue Devils United (BDU), the Office of Information Technology (OIT), and Student Affairs.
Hearing from students
Midway through last fall semester, student leaders from DSG and BDU, Duke’s largest undergraduate LGBTQ+ student organization, approached Student Affairs with a concern. Due to back-end software limitations, many transgender and nonbinary students were unable to update their Mobile DukeCards to reflect their chosen and preferred names.
Because students use their Mobile DukeCards several times each day, this discrepancy was a frequent source of frustration and anxiety. “Our names show up on class rosters, on DukeHub, and even when we mobile order food on campus,” said Kiran Sundar (T ‘23), who served as co-president of BDU and helped spearhead this change.
Sundar and Mac Hoeve (T ‘24) brought this problem to the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity and Shruti Desai, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Student Engagement. The students demonstrated how a mismatch between names could cause someone to be misgendered, deadnamed, or outed as transgender.
“Social transition can be really hard,” Sundar observed, “even more so when it feels like you’re pushing against a system that doesn’t want to believe you exist.”
Updating for inclusivity
As Sundar and Hoeve pointed out, allowing students to update the name on their Mobile DukeCard benefits other groups of students as well. Many international students, for example, adopt chosen names during their time on campus.
To ensure that any changes would benefit as many students as possible, the group brought in James Liao (T/PPS ‘24) and Zara Thalji (PPS ‘25) of Duke Student Government to advise. They also worked with Dawna Jones, Assistant Vice President, Campus Life – Identity & Cultural Centers, and Chris Rossi, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs for Strategic Engagement, to obtain the necessary approvals from Duke administration.
Once Student Affairs approved the change, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the DukeCard Office performed a system upgrade that would add a custom chosen/preferred name field to Mobile DukeCards on mobile devices. Working with OIT’s Identity Management group, they performed several tests to ensure chosen names were displaying consistently across campus platforms.
Adding your chosen name to Mobile DukeCard
To reflect your chosen or preferred first name on your Mobile DukeCard, follow these steps listed on the OIT website:
For Students: Log in to DukeHub, navigate to “My Profile,” and click the pencil icon next to “Preferred Name.” Enter your chosen or preferred first name, and save your changes.
For Faculty and Staff: Access Duke@Work, go to “My Info,” select “My Profile,” and choose “Select or Update your Gender Identity, Pronouns, and Preferred First Name.” Edit your chosen or preferred first name, and save your changes.
Please note that it may take up to two hours for your chosen or preferred first name to appear on your Mobile DukeCard. For additional requests, contact the DukeCard Office at (919) 684-5800.
Looking ahead with confidence
Allowing students to update their Mobile DukeCards to reflect their chosen names is a first step. As Student Affairs continues to foster a campus-wide culture of belonging, this change serves as another positive step towards affirming the diverse identities and experiences of our students.
As Kiran Sundar expressed:
“I changed my name before I matriculated at Duke, but I remember feeling so validated by seeing my chosen name on official documents because it meant that other people were seeing me the way I saw myself. I wasn’t living a double life, I wasn’t lying about my identity; I was who I said I was, and my ID and school documents proved it. With this update to the way we use DukeCards, I hope others can experience that same validation.”