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FAQs, Guides & Toolkits Division of Inclusive Excellence

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Pronoun FAQs

Sacramento State recognizes that using correct gender pronouns is a way to convey fundamental respect and helps create an inclusive environment for people of all gender identities. Accordingly, students may add pronouns in their CMS Student Center account which will update automatically to Canvas. Faculty may add their pronouns in Canvas, and both Faculty and Staff may add their pronouns to the University’s Meet Us webpages and to their business cards. The campus community is also encouraged to add pronouns to their email signatures.

Please find below a list of frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers. If individuals have additional questions related to pronouns, please contact the Division of Inclusive Excellence.

What are pronouns and why are they important?

Pronouns are words that refer to either the people talking (like you or I), or someone or something that is being talked about (like she, they, ze and his). Personal pronouns refer to a unique and individual person. You can signal your pronouns by adding them to your student center, adding them in your email signature, and sharing them whenever you meet someone. By introducing yourself with your name and pronouns, you open the discussion for someone to share their pronouns with you.

Peole may choose to use a variety of pronouns. Using someone’s correct pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment, just as using a person’s preferred or chosen name can be a way to respect them. Often, people assume another person’s gender pronouns based on appearance or name. Assuming or mistaking someone’s pronouns can send a potentially harmful message: that people must look a certain way to demonstrate the gender that they are or are not.

To read more about pronouns and how to use them, visit MyPronouns.org for resources and information.

Why should I add pronouns in my student center account?

Adding your pronouns is a great way to affirmatively state the pronouns that you identify with and to allow others to respectfully engage with you. In addition, it creates and normalize space for people to share their own pronouns, if they are comfortable doing so. Keep in mind that there is a privilege of appearing in a way that fits both your gender and the pronouns that many people associate with your gender. Normalizing the usage of pronouns is a concrete, impactful way to act as an ally and create a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone in the CSUS community.

Do I have to add my pronouns?

No. Adding your pronouns in the student center is entirely optional. It is important to remember that some individuals do not feel comfortable coming out with their pronouns and it should not be required.

How do I add pronouns to my student center account?

Please refer to this guide to adding pronouns in the student center.

You can also watch this 2-minute video that shows how to add your preferred name and pronouns in your student center.

If I enter my pronouns in the student center will they appear in Canvas?

Yes. Once you add your pronouns in the CMS Student Center, your pronouns will automatically update in Canvas within 24 hours, exactly the way you enter and submit them in your Student Center.

Within Canvas, you pronouns will be visible in a few different places:

  • Canvas Cours Roster (which is visible to instructors and other students)
  • Canvas Groups
  • Canvas Discussions
  • Canvas Inbox (when a reply is received)

Where are student pronouns visible to staff and faculty in CMS?

For students who decide to enter pronouns into their student centers, those pronouns will be visible on a few CMS pages to both faculty and staff. Faculty will be able to see student pronouns when they view the Class Roster for different courses, and Academic Advisors will be able to view student pronouns on their Advisor center tab, and on the Advising Summary page.

Please refer to this guide to where student pronouns are visible in CMS that shows Faculty and Advisors where they can view pronouns that have been entered by students.

May I use my pronouns on my OneCard (or SacState ID?)

OneCard does not reference or include pronouns. There is currently no process for including a reference to pronouns on an individual’s OneCard.

What happens if a student enters inappropriate or obscene pronouns?

University officials will regularly review a list of pronouns entered by students. Students who enter pronouns containing inappropriate or obscene language or for those used for the purpose of academic misconduct or fraud will have their pronouns removed at the discretion of university officials.

Personal pronouns refer to a unique and individual person and should be the pronouns you want others to use when referring to you. Pronouns may not include profanity, vulgarity, discriminatory language, or sexually suggestive words. Sacramento State reserves the right to remove an individual’s pronouns if they contain inappropriate or offensive language.

Are there restrictions on the number of times I may change my pronouns?

An individual may enter and change their pronouns for University-related purposes at any time.

How can staff, faculty, and administrators add their pronouns?

Staff and Administrators may add pronouns to their business cards, or email signature in addition to the Meet Us webpage for their college, department or division. To add your pronouns to the Meet Us page for your area, please contact the web publisher who manages the webpages for your area. If additional assistance is needed, please contact IRT to assist with updating the Meet Us webpage.

Faculty may add pronouns in Canvas. Please refer to this 3-step guide to adding pronouns in Canvas.

Additionally, faculty may add pronouns to their business cards or email signature, as well as to the Meet Us webpage for their college or department. To add pronouns to the Meet Us page for your area, please contact the web publisher who manages the webpages for your area. If additional assistance is needed, please contact IRT to assist with updating the Meet Us webpage.

Faculty, and staff may contact University Print to use their template to add pronouns to business cards.

Is it required for staff, faculty, or administrators to add pronouns?

No. Adding your pronouns is entirely optional.