Student Union

The Know Me Project Task Force sent an email apologizing for students' issues changing their Canvas profile photo from their student ID photo.

The task force was created in 2019 with campus-wide representation to personalize the experience of every student, faculty and staff member, University Registrar Jon Reece said. "[Students] build relationships with their faculty members, with each other [and] with departments on campus," he said.

According to Reece, their main objective is to allow students, faculty and staff to utilize preferred pronouns and gender identity. Their most recent project was using student ID photos as Canvas profile photos. "Let's put this out there so that students can get connected in the classroom and so that students could get connected with their faculty members in the classroom and just kind of build a community, get to know who they are," Reece said.

The email explained the original intent of the Know Me Project and addressed the Canvas profile photo issue. According to the email, "a primary concern was that students, faculty and staff were no longer able to change their photo to one that best represented themselves." The letter also touches on how members of the LGBTQ+ community were negatively affected by the issue.

"When the task force as a whole understood what was happening, it was a majority decision to move forward and remove this option from Canvas," Assistant Director for Sexual and Gender Diversity in the Identity, Equity, and Engagement Office Chelsea Ortiz said. Madison Wilson, founder and president of Prism, said removing student ID photos on Canvas will let the LGBTQ+ community know that they attend a university that accepts and embraces who they are.

Student ID photos were made visible on Canvas on Jan. 18 to help instructors and classmates make better connections, according to the news article that announced the change to using student ID photos as Canvas profile photos. According to Reece, the idea to use student ID photos started in 2017 when faculty wanted to get to know their students better. He explained that one of the challenges with Canvas profile photos was that not every student had one and that not every photo was of the student.

"Immediately, the task force started getting feedback from students indicating that not every student was ready to have their photo out there," Reece said. The student ID photos were typically older photos of students taken when they first arrived at Charlotte. Reece said an online portal was created to allow students to change their student ID photos if they did not feel comfortable going to Auxiliary Services.

Wilson believes allowing students to change their profile photos was a good solution. "I think making it more publicized would also have been more beneficial," she said.

The Know Me Project's next endeavor is a four-phase upgrade of Banner Self Service that will add pronouns and gender identity. According to Reece, this upgrade will aid faculty who use the platform to use the appropriate pronouns in the classroom.

"One of our next projects is potentially surveying the different areas of campus that utilize preferred first name or legal first name in terms of mailed correspondence," said Reece. According to Reece, some students want their preferred first name to be used, while others prefer their legal name.

"It has been expressed by several members of this task force, including myself, that the project in all of its iterations begins to more intentionally center the needs of our most minoritized students, staff and faculty," Ortiz said.

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