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Massey University mascot Fergus wore a rainbow scarf in the selfie corner and guests enjoyed cupcakes and rainbow ice creams in the final of three Rainbow Tick celebrations held on each of the University’s campuses.
The highlight of the event, held on the Manawatū campus last week, was the awarding of the University’s Rainbow Tick certificate by programme director Michael Stevens to Assistant Vice-Chancellor People Organisational and Development Alan Davis.
Te Putahi-a-Toi senior lecturer Reupena Tawhai, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Uepohatu, Te Whānau a Umuariki, opened the formalities with a karakia and mihi whakatau.
In a heartfelt speech, Mr Davis expressed the hope that supporting Rainbow-identified staff and students would be a gateway to greater kindness in all communities on campus, while campus registrar Dr Sandi Shillington talked of the African concept of “Ubuntu”, which refers to caring for each other as an interconnected community.
The event brought together members of UniQ, Massey University Students’ Association’s club for Rainbow-identified students; Transcend, a community organisation founded by, and for, transgender youth in the Manawatū; and Rainbow-identified Massey staff.
Ahead of the event, representatives from Transcend hosted a workshop with University and student association staff to identify barriers on campus for trans, gender diverse or gender questioning people.
Earlier this year it was announced the University had received Rainbow Tick accreditation, having demonstrated it understands, values, and welcomes sexual and gender diversity.
The Rainbow Tick organisation was formed in 2014 to lobby for the rights of Rainbow – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, takatāpui and intersex (LGBTTI+) – community members in the workplace. It works with organisations to evaluate their current situation and works with them regularly to improve.
As part of the accreditation process, Rainbow Tick assessors reviewed the University’s documents and policies and spoke to staff and students who identify as Rainbow community members and staff from the wider population.
Rainbow Tick found that, while there were still some areas requiring further work, the University demonstrates practices and principles that align with and support the ethos of the Rainbow Tick.
The existence of goodwill towards the Rainbow community at the University was one of the key themes to emerge from staff and student focus groups.
In their report, Rainbow Tick suggested, while goodwill is a valuable asset, it can achieve very little on its own. A thought echoed by Mr Davis, who says certification is just one piece of the puzzle.
“What the Rainbow Tick certification process has shown us is that we have the policy framework in place to support members of the Rainbow community. However, we are striving to create an institution where everyone feels they can be themselves in a safe, comfortable and supportive environment. To do this, we must match our words with actions.”
Earlier this year, the University sought input from staff, students, rainbow family and rainbow allies to create a strategy that ensures equal opportunity and inclusion for Rainbow community members. Future initiatives planned as part of the strategy include the creation of gender neutral toilets and establishing a formal procedure that supports staff and students transitioning gender.
It is hoped Rainbow Tick accreditation will make Massey an even more desirable institution for staff and students. Other organisations accredited with the Rainbow Tick include Auckland University of Technology, Simpson Grierson, ASB, Westpac and KPMG.
For more information about Rainbow Tick and the accreditation process click here.
Created: 14/11/2017 | Last updated: 16/11/2017
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Watch stunning aerial footage of Massey University's Manawatū campus.