University of York has changed the way it makes student usernames, to be more inclusive

York’s LGBTQ+ Network called it ‘a massive win for trans students’

The University of York is making its student and staff emails and usernames more inclusive, by changing the formula so it is randomly generated and not related to a person’s initials.

The move will accommodate people whose name is changed because they transition, get married or divorced, or otherwise change their names, for example if they are estranged from their families and choose to change their surname.

In the past, York’s email usernames were made up of the first letters of a students’ first name and surname. But now, it will instead use simply randomly generated letters in the form abc123, that have no relation to the people involved.

The uni won’t be using vowels or the letter “y” in the random combinations, to avoid “common short names” like “bob”, or offensive words. It has asked students to report any combinations they think shouldn’t be included.

On the uni’s website, it says: “In October 2022 we changed the way that we generate usernames for all new users (staff, students and associates).

“Usernames were previously based upon a person’s initials at the time of account creation, followed by a sequence of digits (in order to make the username unique). We have changed this so that the first part is made up of three random characters. These are followed by a sequence of digits, as before. The format of the username will not change (it will still be of the form abc123), but no longer contains a person’s initials (unless by random chance).”

Students whose accounts were created before this month will not have their usernames change, and the uni said it unfortunately isn’t possible to change usernames after they have been allocated.

York SU’s LGBTQ+ Network said on Instagram: “Although this only applies to new students, this is still a massive win for trans students at the university.”

A uni spokesperson said the move is because the uni is not currently able to change usernames when requested by staff or students, whether because they have gotten married or divorced, their name no longer reflects their gender identity, or any other reason.

“The aim of our new approach, which uses randomly selected letters and numbers to create usernames, is to break the perceived link between a person’s name and username, therefore avoiding any issues individuals may have on the inclusion of their current or future initials.”

If you’re a York student, DM us on Instagram to let us know your thoughts on the new inclusive move @theyorktab

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