Barnard College IT Username Policy


Executive Summary

This policy describes the schema used by BCIT to generate usernames for computing and IT systems, and mechanisms for change requests.

Reason for the Policy

It is a generally-accepted best practice to have a standard pattern, mechanism, or schema to create usernames within a system, as it is not supportable to have a free-form environment.  Having established a standard, there must be some scope for necessary adjustments that may occur as well, so that all are addressed in a fair and equitable fashion.

Who is Responsible for This Policy

The Vice-President for Information Technology or her designees.

Who is Governed by This Policy

Barnard College faculty and staff members.  (Student usernames are generated to be identical to the student’s Columbia UNI, and there is no variance.)


Username: The unique identifier by which a person is known on a given computer system.  Also known as “userid”, “login id”, etc.

Alias: An email address or other identity created as an alternate method to reach a person.  It differs from a username in that it does not have its own password, mailbox, or rights, and cannot be used to access a system; in most cases it is just an email address that only redirects to an existing mailbox.

Barnard Account: The unified credentials (username + password) used to access gBear, eBear, campus wireless, Service-Now, and other systems that authenticate using the central authentication system.  Some campus systems use a different authentication pair, but the username will be identical to the Barnard Account username; examples include Novell and Datatel Colleague.

Policy Statement

1. Basic creation
The naming convention for the Barnard Account is first initial + last name, to a maximum of eight characters.  If a person’s last name is more than seven characters, s/he is automatically given an email alias that represents his/her full last name (e.g., Jane Doesmith’s username is “jdoesmit”, but she can also receive email as “jdoesmith”).  In cases where the username is already in use, the middle initial is included (e.g., if the College already has a jsmith, Jane R. Smith becomes “jrsmith”).  The very rare instances where that construction is also in use are examined on a case-by-case basis.

2.  Requests for change
BCIT will not change a username except where the affected user has had a legal name change that is reflected in the College’s information systems. In all other cases, such as professional use of a middle name or nickname, BCIT will upon request create an email alias that points to the requestor’s true email address.  This alias cannot be of the first initial-last-name format, to guard against future name collisions.

Ex.: Mary Smith prefers to use her middle name, Jane.  Her Barnard Account username is created as “msmith”, and she will use that to log into all campus IT systems.  However, she can request an email alias such as “janesmith”, “mjsmith”, or “mjanesmith” to use for her correspondence.  She cannot use “jsmith”, as it may conflict with another user in future.

Cross Reference to Related Policies



For questions or comments:
Barnard College Information Technology
Telephone: 212-854-7172

Revision History

Created Dec. 2012