Macquarie University is the latest campus to launch the Ally program, the successful gay-straight alliance network for university students and staff.
Environmental management student and GLBTI representative on the Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee, David Rorke helped launch the program as part of the university’s Diversity Week celebrations.
We do get a lot of support here. We have a queer space in the [email protected] building, and we recently received funding to take students to the Queer Collaborations conference, Rorke told Sydney Star Observer.
Since November, 46 Macquarie -˜allies’ -” mostly administrative staff -” have been trained in GLBTI issues, similar to police GLLOs.
The allies don’t replace the professional equity and diversity officers who handle equal opportunity issues and complaints, but encourage tolerance and understanding in their faculties.
It’s a quiet campus. GLBTI issues aren’t spoken about or known very widely, Rorke added.
That looks set to change, as the newly re-formed queer collective created what they called the most colourful stall at the fair during Diversity Week celebrations last week.
Although Rorke said he hadn’t heard about any discrimination issues on campus, the Ally network was designed to encourage an open and accepting workplace and education setting.
Those trained are given stickers and materials to spread around their office so others will know there are supporters nearby.
A list of Ally contact details will soon be published on the university website.
The program was first developed at the University of Western Australia in 2002, and has since spread to the Australian National University, University of New England, University of Western Sydney and others interstate.

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