Over half of trans and non-binary students deadnamed at Falmouth and Exeter

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A survey conducted by the Falmouth and Exeter Pride Society has uncovered that 60% of Exeter students and over 50% of Falmouth students have been deadnamed during their time at university. 

The findings were released by the society earlier this month as part of an awareness-raising campaign for deadnaming. 

In contrast, Stonewall reported in 2018 that 23% of trans students nationwide have experienced deadnaming. 

Speaking to the Anchor, Pride Society said that “both universities have failed to provide a sufficient level of support to trans and non-binary students”. 

The University of Exeter has “provided no information on how they plan to help resolve the issue”, while Falmouth University timetables have “outed students to their peers without their consent”. 

“no apology was ever given”

The campaign calls on both universities to commit to ending the issue by raising awareness of deadnaming among staff and students so that trans and non-binary students can feel more supported at university. 

“We would like internal systems to be updated to use preferred names. We would also like both universities to apologise to those who have been impacted by deadnaming.” 

The group told the Anchor that the campaign began when students approached the society about their timetables. 

“In September last year, it came to our attention that many Falmouth students were deadnamed on their timetables… the issue was resolved, but no apology was ever given.” 

Additionally, the society “heard several stories of students who had experienced deadnaming from lecturers and university systems” and took the findings to the students’ union who are “currently working on the issue.” 

They are “taking the issue seriously” and “making changes to improve things”. The work done by the Pride Society has led to “most, if not all, Falmouth systems… updated to remove students’ deadnames”.

However, the University of Exeter has yet to provide any information to the society on their response to the campaign. 

The society also encourages students to get involved in the campaign by “supporting individual students who may be impacted by deadnaming”.

If someone witnesses deadnaming, the society encourages students to “step in and correct others” and “check-in on the person experiencing deadnaming”, however only if the person is “comfortable for you to do so” as some students may not be “out in all parts of their lives”.

Pride Society added that supporting trans and non-binary students involves “making an effort to be mindful of pronouns”, whether this be in “your email sign-off, on social media [or] when introducing yourself.” 

“Make an effort to ask for the pronouns of others to avoid accidentally misgendering someone.”

In response to this article, Exeter told the Anchor: “The University of Exeter recognises that deadnaming is an important issue and has a significant impact on the dignity and privacy of trans and non-binary members of our community. In consultation with our LGBTQ+ community, the Student Records team has identified flaws in our database system that have led to deadnaming and has been working to address these during the past two years. However, we acknowledge that transphobia occurs as both a result of systemic issues and prejudicial attitudes and we are working hard to develop a culture of inclusion and better understanding of trans and non-binary people in our institution. We welcome all feedback from and collaboration with LGBTQ+ student groups and are keen to learn from the outcomes of the recent survey by the SU, in addition to encouraging any students affected to contact us for help and support. For further information, please visit our LGBTQ+ Student Support pages, or email the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team: edi@exeter.ac.uk”.

Falmouth said: “Falmouth University began a system-wide review of our IT systems two years ago and have been working through a series of integrations and updates since then so that students can change their name across our systems. We have previously been made aware of a small number of bugs, which the Students’ Union had brought to our attention. We’re sorry if students’ preferred names were not used before the new system updates were fully in place. This is of course a really important issue and we’re keen to ensure that our students receive the best possible experience. We’re working with our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group to ensure that all staff have ongoing opportunities to receive training on best practice. We’d encourage any students experiencing issues to bring them to our attention so we can investigate and offer support.”