Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, is delighted to announce that its School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management (ASSAM) has become the recipient of a Silver Charter Award from LGBT Youth Scotland, the national charity for LGBT+ young people.
QMU prides itself on its welcoming community and creating a place where people feel recognised and heard. As part of a drive to create an inclusive learning environment, ASSAM led the charge towards achieving charter status with the charity, creating an LGBT+ staff network, alongside ramping up plans to promote LGBT+ student support on campus and beyond, from making printed resources widely available to joining the LGBT+ Student Society at the 2020 Edinburgh Pride march.
COVID restrictions, however, forced QMU's Charter Champions back to the drawing board, and the work continued with an online focus, resulting in a dedicated section of the website being created for LGBT+ resources. Staff and students wrote blogs, signed a pledge to include gender pronouns in their email signatures, created a virtual pride parade, and participated in awareness-raising campaigns such as Purple Friday. In June 2021, the Champions hosted a series of events online exploring the links between LGBT+ and other marginalised identities. When a return to campus eventually became possible, a collaboration with the queer-led graduate video production company, Naka Media, resulted in a celebratory film about QMU's LGBT+ inclusive community.
Eighteen months of hard work from the team towards achieving bronze Charter status more than paid off at the end of November 2021 when ASSAM exceeded all expectations and was presented with the Silver Award for going beyond what was required for the bronze and providing LGBT awareness training for 43 members of academic staff within the School.
Professor David Stevenson, Dean of ASSAM, said “This achievement marks an important milestone in the University's commitment to social justice, and we look forward to building on this work over the coming months and years. Getting the Silver Charter Award has been a real team effort, with staff and student champions working together to identify ways in which we can continue to ensure that everyone who studies in the School feels welcome and able to be themselves.”
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