Students' Union praised for its equality and diversity activities

Students' Union praised for its equality and diversity activities

Equal Opportunities Manager Paul Browne congratulates Treasa Harkin, VP for Equality and Diversity, on winning the Equality and Diversity Award at this year’s National Union of Students Awards

Queen’s Students’ Union has been praised for its equality and diversity activities and the positive impact they have had on students.

Over the past couple of years, the Students’ Union has implemented a number of programmes which have brought equality to the forefront of its activities and increased the involvement of under-represented groups within Union initiatives.

This work has now been acknowledged at a national level with the Students’ Union picking up the Equality and Diversity Award at this year’s National Union of Students Awards.

The University’s Equal Opportunities Manager, Paul Browne, congratulated the Union on its achievements. He said: “The Students’ Union should be congratulated on the positive steps it has undertaken over the past couple of years to ensure that all students, regardless of gender, age or background, can get the most out of their experience at Queen’s.”

In 2008-09, the Union created a new sabbatical officer position, Vice President of Equality and Diversity, and since then it has been able to dedicate more time and effort into actively reaching out to all student groups and making real improvements in this area.

Steps undertaken by the Union have included strengthening existing activities, such as expanding Welcome Week to make it more inclusive, holding forums with under-represented student groups and revamping the induction process for part-time students. 

The Union has also initiated new programmes aimed at promoting equality and celebrating diversity, including: new societies specifically for under-represented student groups such as Queen’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Society; production of a mature student handbook; development of a Postgraduate Students’ Surgery; and the delivery of an International Buddy Scheme.

Treasa Harkin, Vice President for Equality and Diversity, said: “During the past year, the Students’ Union has made significant progress.  We are not claiming that Queen’s is the most equal and diverse campus, but believe that we are improving dramatically each year.  The attention and commitment that the Union has shown to these issues are paying off, and we can only look forward to further development in coming years.” 

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QN Editor on 8 Nov 2011 said:

Thanks for the comment, Debbie. I've updated the LGBT title.

Debbie on 8 Nov 2011 said:

I would like to highlight a mistake in Queen's Now 'Students' Union praised for its equality and diversity activities' article. The LGBT Society actaully stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Society. It was also not created recently, the society has been on going for many years, dating back to the 70s and has been recognised and funded by the Students' Union since 2005. Furthermore the sabbatical position, VP Equality and Diversity, was created when the Queen's LGBT Society ran a campaign and lobbied the Students' Union and the Student Council for change and to create this position. The VP for Equality and Diversity is doing a fantastic job and I am glad the position was created. I'm delighted the Union won an award from NUS. The progress made within the Students' Union in representing and dealing with Students and LGBT issues is something Queen's itself should learn from for their own staff!