STUDENTS at the University of Adelaide have created a Change.org petition calling on those in charge to create an anti-discrimination policy for LGBTI staff and students.
The petition arrives in light of the Australian LGBTI University Guide published earlier this year, which revealed how welcoming and inclusive universities were towards their LGBTI students.
Adelaide’s Student Representative Council’s queer officer Cai Langford said she created the petition as a way to address the lack policies specifically supporting her peers.
“I started [it] as a way of showing the university administration that the queer community care about these issues and would like formal protections recognised in policy,” she told the Star Observer.
“I believe it’s important because policies reflect the values of an organisation and currently there are no policies at the University specifically regarding discrimination against queer people.
“There are policies regarding racism, disabilities, and discrimination more generally, but not the queer community.”
The University of Adelaide has a history of being linked to homophobic attacks in some form, including the death of Dr George Duncan, a law lecturer from the university who drowned near a gay beat along the River Torrens in 1972.
His death helped spark the movement to decriminalise consensual gay sex in South Australia, a law reform that recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Langford said LGBTI students at university face much of the same harassment and discrimination found in the workplace and other social settings.
“Poor attitudes and a lack of education are sometimes problematic for queer staff and students, and by creating a culture of acceptance this could prevent further discriminatory behaviour and make the University of Adelaide a proactive institution rather than a reactive one,” she said.
University of Adelaide vice chancellor Warren Bebbington has been contacted for comment.
To sign the Change.org petition, click here.