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Pronoun Data Use and Protection

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The university collects information about your identity to create a campus environment that recognizes and supports all of our community. As such, we are enabling the collection and visibility of pronouns in key campus systems.

The IDEAL Data Stewards, a group of university faculty and administrators that includes the IDEAL Research System and personnel in charge of privacy and data reporting is responsible for maintaining the list of pronoun options and setting data use policies. To provide feedback to the IDEAL Data Stewards, please use this form.

Who can see my pronouns?

As a community, our understanding of identity continues to evolve. Over time, campus systems will be enhanced to allow students to share their pronouns.  Please consider not only the current systems that pronouns will be displayed in but also future extended uses when making a decision to share your pronouns in Axess. Students may also refer to the "Who can see my pronouns?" decision tree (PDF) to understand their pronoun visibility. Below is a description of where pronoun data is seen in campus systems today as well as some systems where we anticipate they may be displayed in the future. Note: This is not a comprehensive list, and may be revised and extended as the Gender Enablement Project develops:  

Current Status
As of August 2022
Rosters in Axess and Canvas Will Display Pronouns

StanfordWho Directory

Does not currently display pronouns but may in the future
Housing  Does not currently display pronouns but may in the future



Does not currently display pronouns but may in the future

VadenPatient (student health portal)


Does not currently display pronouns but may in the future

How will my data be protected?

My pronoun data infographic





Stanford intends for pronouns to be used to facilitate respectful campus communications and to be available in class settings. Pronouns are not considered to be highly sensitive from a data privacy perspective, and are classified as Moderate Risk under Stanford’s Data Risk Classifications. Read more about Stanford’s Data Risk Classifications.

Although pronouns are not considered highly sensitive data, pronouns are considered part of a student’s record and are protected by FERPA. Under FERPA, pronouns are not categorized as “public directory information.” Therefore, students’ pronouns will not be disclosed to parties outside Stanford, as part of a data request and without a student’s consent.  (Note: FERPA’s designation of “directory information” should not be confused with StanfordWho, Stanford’s directory, which has both logged-in and public views of community members, and which students can control with a privacy setting in Axess.)

Protected data and Inherent risk

We recognize that sharing information about your identity is personal. As such, answering these questions may not be possible or preferable for you at this time. Sharing pronouns is optional and, if set, has a default Stanford-only privacy setting, meaning they will not be used in communications outside the campus.  To change the privacy setting for your pronouns in Axess, go to “My Axess Profile” and change the privacy button setting. The options are ‘Stanford-only’ and ‘Public’.

Update Cycle

Stanford has a vast data ecosystem, and not all systems update at the same rate.  Some will be updated immediately, such as if you update your pronouns in Axess or Canvas, while others are updated overnight or once per term. Also relevant is how often humans reference systems.  For instance, class roster use is most heavy early in the term while teachers are remembering personal information. If your pronouns change during a term, you may want to alert your instructor in another way too.

How will student pronoun data be used by Stanford?

To support a learning environment that is inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible for all community members the university invites students to select their pronouns. Sharing pronouns enables community members to address each other as they self-identify, cultivating a culture of respectful communication.