UCT broadens inclusivity through gender neutral titles

09 October 2018 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is constantly working to adapt to shifting contexts, especially around transformation and inclusivity. Institutions of higher learning are microcosms of society and UCT recognises that it has a role in building a culture of inclusion and acceptance.

We recently adopted the Inclusivity Policy for Sexual Orientation. This policy sets out guidelines to inform and educate UCT staff and students in terms of making appropriate choices on the use terminology in teaching practice, communication, health care and administrative services.

One outcome of this has been the adoption of a more inclusive approach to titles (on an ongoing basis). As such, the university has made provision for both prospective and current students to choose their honorific title, or to choose no title. We believe this decision will help in our efforts to create an environment in which all will flourish and be respected, as  encouraged by the Constitution of our country.

This is particularly significant as we celebrate Rainbow Week from 8 to 12 October, under the theme of Inclusivity. Rainbow Week is important as it calls us to let go of inner biases and prejudices to make room for respectful engagement in a safe space.

As the first South African university to ratify a policy that protects the rights of sexually-diverse people, focusing on inclusion is a must in order for us to lead the way towards an inclusive and safe campus for all.

Students who choose to change their title will be allowed to select from Miss, Ms, Mrs, Mr, Mx or the blank option, which indicates no title.

Current students who choose to make title changes can do so via the Peoplesoft system. Those who need to change their prefix from or to Prof, A/Prof or Dr will need to contact the Student Records Office.

If you would like your student card to reflect your choice, please send an email requesting this to access.control@uct.ac.za. Your request will be attended to and arrangements made to issue a new card at no cost. Your existing photo on the UCT system will still be used.

As a university committed to promoting diversity, we encourage your engagement and hope we can work together to create an environment that respects and celebrates differences, regardless of an individual’s self-identified sexual orientation.

For information on how to change your title, please read the document that outlines the process.

Sincerely

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
Vice-Chancellor


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