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October 8, 2018 | by  | in News | [ssba]

We’re Here, We’re Queer, and the Uni (Finally) Cares

At long last, Victoria University has decided to add a Queer Support Coordinator to its staff. This job will be advertised from next year, and the University hopes to consult with queer students around the scale and mentorship that the role will provide.
According to Pam Thorburn, Director of Student Academic Services, the role will be responsible for: raising awareness, developing resources, providing support for the UniQ executive, and supporting members of the LGBTQIA+ community at Victoria. Finer aspects of this role are still up in the air. “We want to ensure that our University is a safe and inclusive environment for students of all gender and sexual identities,” said Thorburn.
UniQ Victoria have said that they are “pleased” with the “long overdue” creation of this role. “We look forward to working with the QSC when they are appointed,” they said.

VUWSA president Marlon Drake said “this role will mean there is finally dedicated support for our LGBTQIA+ community”, and it is a “big step forward for student wellbeing in our community”.
Otago University has had a Queer Support person for around fifteen years; they are a key member of their student support team. The role is employed by OUSA, making it somewhat independent from the University. They work with departments on policy changes, restructuring, lecture content, and can raise issues that students are experiencing. Otago also provides a permanent queer space for students, and has a queer resource library. Other universities around the country provide similar support.
Ex-Uni Q President, and current University Council member Alexandria Mark transferred from Otago to Wellington after one year of uni. Mark was shocked to find that Vic had so little resources for its LGBTQIA+ students.


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