Some Northwestern State University students with accents in their names have had their names spelled wrong in their email addresses, student IDs, diplomas and other documents sent by the university.
When the accent mark is not included in the spelling, it is technically misspelled.
The process of printing names begins in the admissions office. When a student registers to be a student, he or she submits their name to admissions. The One Card Office prints the name as it is shown. For diplomas, the student has the option to either type their name as they want it on the diploma or the registrar prints how it is on their academic record.
The okina (the guttural stop) in alumnus Ka’ihe Fisher’s name was never included in his email address, ID or diploma. Fisher explained that it changes the meaning of his name because it is no longer his name without the okina.
He said the accent in his name is important to the spelling of his name and his Hawaiian culture.
“I love my name, and it took me such a long time to have pride in it again after moving to the mainland,” Fisher said. “I was made fun of it or I would make it easier for them because I wanted to ‘be like everyone else’ before realizing that just because I now live in the mainland does not mean I have to conform to its society, maintaining my Hawaiian demeanor.”
A few students have faced the same situation but have a different view.
Joaquín Espliguero Orts has an acute accent in his first name and has had the same problem with it not being included on his ID, email or documents. Although the accent is not included on his student ID or anything for the university, he has also expressed that his Spanish ID and passport do not include the accent either.
“I know that systems in the U.S. do not have the accent character, so it would be a problem if I try to write it in forms,” Espliguero Orts says.
He said he does not think it is important and that it does not change how he feels about his name.
Similarly, freshman Mauricio Gamariel León López said he understands that most people in the U.S. do not have accents in their first or last names.
“The first time that I see my papers I was like afraid because if in other places they tell me something about my name that isn’t spelled right,” López said. “Now that I know that there is no problem. It’s OK to me.”
López said he is not bothered by the missing accent mark in his name.
The One Card office can correct the names on IDs if the student brings his or her license showing the proper spelling of his or her name. Whether a student’s name has a tilde, cédille, acute accent mark or okina, their name can be spelled correctly.