Top Hat

Preferred names, student rights priorities

By Stef Warner April 11, 2018

Hi RPI! My name is Stef Warner, and I am humbled to be serving you as your 153rd grand marshal! First and foremost, a big thank you to everyone who got out and voted last week. As the GM Week festivities come to an end, we are eager and ready to kick off the new term of Student Government!

I ran for grand marshal on a platform that focused on defending student rights, restoring a student-run Union, pushing for wellness and safety, prioritizing graduate student interests, improving the relationship with administrators, and emphasizing inclusivity and diversity. These focuses were not just a simple soapbox trying to get myself elected; they are promises I fully intend to keep, and I look forward to being held to my commitments during my term as grand marshal. I believe that RPI has the potential to be a more diverse and inclusive community, and I intend to push toward that future from day one. As I touched upon in my platform, I believe this can be achieved with a number of concrete goals. As one of the first priorities after committee chairs have been confirmed, I will be forming a subcommittee of the Student Life Committee to focus on the concerns students face across campus in terms of diversity and inclusivity.

I have also begun the application process for officer positions in the Student Senate. These rules include vice grand marshal, secretary, treasurer, parliamentarian, and committee chairs. I intend to fulfill my promise of ensuring applications are more readily available and reach a larger demographic of students, which begins with this announcement. Once you apply, I will reach out about scheduling interviews so I can get to know you more before the appointments are decided. The application can be found online at, and no previous experience is required to apply!

As we quickly approach the end of the semester, I want to touch upon another promise I made, as the work towards fulfilling it has already begun. I have reached out to the Registrar, in hopes to work toward finally seeing the implementation of preferred names for students across campus by the conclusion of next semester. If you are unfamiliar with this project, preferred names would allow students to identify to the Registrar’s office a non-legal name that they commonly use. This non-legal preferred name would be made available to professors and staff, so they can use it wherever a legal name is not required, such as class listings and in most meetings with staff. As the project gets closer to completion, I will keep you updated with more details about the implementation and how students can sign up!

Above all, I am looking forward to advocating for student interests and defending student rights throughout the year. I am beyond excited to see what we can accomplish this term for the student body! If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at!