UTS Gets Allied

Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore (C) joined Vice-Chancellor Ross Milbourne and

Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore (C) with Vice-Chancellor Ross Milbourne and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Shirley Alexander

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP joined Vice-Chancellor Professor Ross Milbourne, staff  and students in launching the UTS Ally program last week.

The program which provides active support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and intersex members of the UTS community began in Canada and has now been adopted by 12 Australian universities.

The UTS Ally program was championed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Alexander last year when a student lodged a complaint about insulting graffiti that had been left in the students' designated queer space.

In her speech Professor Alexander said she had believed there was, overall, a high level of acceptance of sexual and other kinds of diversity on campus and was disappointed that sexual prejudice was still causing concern and distress for some people at UTS.

"There is clear evidence that.there is homophobic behaviour taking place on campus and I have a zero tolerance towards that," Professor Alexander said.

UTS Cultural Diversity Officer Daniel O'Neill said initial training had just recently been conducted with 35 UTS staff members who have undertaken to be 'Allies' in the program - most were at the launch.

 "An Ally is a trained volunteer who provides safe contact for students and staff identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and intersex, and those questioning their sexual or gender identity," Mr O'Neill said.

Dinah Cohen (L) and Daniel O'Neill of the UTS Equity and Diversity Unit who worked tirelessly in establishing the Ally program, with program champion Professor Shirley Alexander

"The program is intended to create awareness of issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, support the rights of all students and staff regardless of sexual orientation and gender and support an inclusive, diverse and safe university community, based on respect and dignity.

"We are keen to increase the number of Allies on campus and I am happy for anyone wanting to know more about what being an Ally means to contact me."

People interested in knowing more about the UTS Ally Program or wishing to become an Ally can contact the UTS Equity & Diversity Unit on (02) 9514 1084 or visit the Ally web page.