A new video has been produced on the Allies at Dalhousie and is now available online. The production was designed and produced by George Woodhouse and Dillon Garland. A team of others was critical in the planning of this project, including Sarah-Jo Briand, Laura MacIntosh, Natalie Stocker, Gaye Wishart, and others.
The project had the encouragement and financial support of the office of Vice-President (Student Services), Dr. Bonnie Neuman. Thanks to all who appear in the video and assisted in any way.
Gaye Wishart, Advisor, Harassment Prevention/Conflict Management Human Rights, Equity & Harassment Prevention at Dalhousie gives some background information regarding the purpose and intentions of the video. "We were trying to portray the diversity of people making up the Dalhousie community and to show that although we are all part of Dalhousie, we have come from very different experiences. Our gender identity and sexual orientation are only part of the story of who we are and how we got here. When you become part of the Dalhousie community we want people to feel safe and know that their differences will be valued and celebrated and that there are supports available such as the Allies program. It has been reported that many students go back into the closet when they transition to post-secondary schools. We are hoping that students can feel safe to express who they are". We are hoping that this story will encourage people to take the time to view it. We will link it to a number of sites including Allies, our office website, etc. We will liaise with Student Services about what else is possible with respect to getting the video to the student population, and the timing of that to maximize the viewing. I know that Allies at Dal focus on creating an inclusive community for students, but I also noticed that there was a diverse age demographic represented in the video.
Do Allies at Dal also have resources for creating an inclusive community for faculty and staff? Our programming is for faculty, staff and students and so we keep that the diverse age demographic in mind in our planning for creating an inclusive community at Dalhousie.. Wayves asked if Dalhousie has become a more accepting and inclusive campus in the past year? Were there any major developments/improvements? What can still be done to eliminate homophobia/transphobia? "We strive to create a respectful and inclusive campus community. Our office (Human Rights, Equity & Harassment Prevention) provided training for approximately 500 staff and over 1000 students last year. Other offices also provide programming in diversity and inclusion. Dal Allies had a panel presentation on Homophobic Bullying in March which was very well attended. We ran a training session for Allies in April. We are now planning our contingent in the Pride Parade and encourage the Dalhousie community to come out and walk with us to show their support. Pink Day is scheduled for September 28th and we are hoping that the community will come out in support of that initiative as well.
The Allies Steering Committee also now has representation from the Youth Project and their expertise in working with youth around issues of sexual orientation and gender identity is greatly appreciated. Work is being done in the Registrar's Office to address issues for trans students. Our Allies website now lists all the gender-neutral washrooms on campus and the university has been very supportive in providing sites throughout the campus for these facilities.
HR has followed up on the results of the Workplace Survey, and worked with units to set goals/priorities for addressing concerns raised in their areas. Being treated in a respectful manner was rated critically important when evaluating the Dalhousie workplace. We developed, in conjunction with HR, courses, videos and web resources on conflict management and also material on Incivility in the Classroom to address climate issues. There is a new course this fall on Intercultural Communication. Work is ongoing to create a respectful and inclusive campus community."