‘Prejudice and discrimination are equal opportunity blights – and if you have been on the receiving end of them for whatever reason, you can certainly relate to how people feel on the receiving end of them for other reasons.’
I am a lecturer in Finance in the College of Business and Law. I am also a member of the LGBTIQ community – having come out as a gay man in my early twenties. I was ‘out’ as a high school teacher in the early 1980s before Law Reform and have never hidden my orientation in my years here at UC. I am also currently co-president of the Canterbury University branch of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) – the leading staff union here on campus and for tertiary education employees nationally. Within the TEU I am also currently the Rainbow Te Kahukura representative for our university. Rainbow Te Kahukura is a relatively new nation-wide group furthering the interests of LGBTIQ people in tertiary education (staff and students). More locally, I am also a member of the College of Business and Law’s Equity and Diversity Committee.”
What does diversity mean to you?
“Recognising diversity means acknowledging we are not all the same. Some of us are NOT the same. But we are still part of “US” and should not be partitioned off to be considered separately as part of “THEM”.”
What role does diversity play in your work?
“Primarily I’m an academic. But I care about the human beings I teach. Sometimes humanity and a sense of decency mean you just have to get involved rather than sit on your hands.”
What diversity activities have you been involved in?
“UC has organized quite a few diversity activities in the past years. Diversity Week 2015 was a major success along with other events such as sexuality awareness week, eco week, various seminars and workshops. It need not be within UC; if you support a cause outside of UC let the students and relevant stakeholders know about it through your profile.
Last year I liaised with Q Canterbury to create a visible LGBTIQ presence at the College of Business and Law Diversity Week multicultural lunch event. Two young men from Q Canterbury and I fronted up and had a desk with posters.
This year I am organizing an event for staff identifying as LGBTIQ over at TEU House, and I am also on the national steering committee for Rainbow Te Kahukura who have a one-day national conference in August – open to interested student groups too.”