Should all staff and student officers include their name pronunciation in their email signature?

Date embedded: October 2025

Liberation - inclusion - accessibility

Note: as passed in amended form

Date embedded: October 2025

Status: Complete

Proposed by: Jack Juckes (QMSU Vice President Welfare)
Seconded by: Shamima Akter (QMSU President), Tiana Dinard-Samuel (QMSU Vice President Communities), Aphrodite Murray-Liddington (QMSU Vice President Science & Engineering), Cameron Storey (QMSU Vice President Humanities & Social Sciences), Mathew Robathan (BLSA President and QMSU Vice President Barts and The London))

 

What do you want?

This policy would recommend that all Students’ Union staff and student officers include a phonetic explanation of how their name is pronounced in their email signature. Using a guide from Carnegie Mellon University, staff and student officers would either indicate the phonetic spelling of their name OR a familiar word that rhymes with their name if easier, with syllables separated by dashes and stressed syllables capitalised. The full guide with a table of letters and sounds can be found in the footnotes1. For example, Jack Juckes would be Jak Jewkz, Sarah Johnson would be SAIR-ruh JON-suhn, etc. Staff and student officers are welcome to use a different guide for reference if of a similar standard and their phonetic spelling makes sense to readers.

It will be up to the QMSU Communications and Marketing team as to where in the email signatures this would be placed – they would need to update the email signature template accordingly, and staff and student officers would be encouraged to use this template for brand consistency. The only requirement is for the name pronunciation to be in sensible proximity to the name, relatively early in the signature (far from the bottom).

 

Why do you want it?

The impact of consistent mispronunciation of an individual’s name is well documented23 and can be considered a microaggression towards people with non-western sounding names. Including name pronunciation in email signatures will help people to correctly pronounce others’ names, serve as a useful reminder after somebody introduces themselves, and help to remind people of the importance of making the effort to get names right. Having name pronunciation in email signatures for ALL staff and student officers, regardless of what their name is or how easily it is pronounced, will help to embed this consideration into the culture of Queen Mary Students’ Union for everyone regardless of background.

 

What Impact will this have?

This will help to reduce the incidence of name-related microaggressions and contribute to ensuring all staff and students feel welcome and valued in the Students’ Union.

 

References

1https://www.cmu.edu/hub/registrar/docs/phonetic-spelling-instructions.pdf

2https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210108-the-signals-we-send-when-we-get-names-wrong

3https://www.fastcompany.com/40553849/what-to-say-when-coworkers-wont-stop-mispronouncing-your-name

 

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