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November 25, 2015

Allies Network explained at SAC meeting

alliesStaff, faculty and graduate assistants all may take advantage of training to become part of Pitt’s Allies Network, “a symbol of this University’s efforts to increase awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ community,” Sherdina Harper told the Staff Association Council (SAC) Nov. 11.

Harper, programming coordinator in the Office of Cross Cultural and Leadership Development in Student Affairs, advises the Rainbow Alliance, Pitt’s LGBT undergraduate group, as well as the Black Action Society, Campus Women’s Organization and other affinity groups. The Allies Network training, she noted in her presentation, began about a decade ago as a chance for Rainbow Alliance undergrads to talk to Pitt employees about respecting LGBT students on campus and creating an environment that is more inclusive of them.

The three-hour training includes discussions of the Allies Network, LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex/asexual and allied people), micro-aggressions, coming out and being an ally. It is followed by a panel discussion with current Rainbow Alliance members over lunch.

Those who complete the training will receive a placard to post in their office. “It says to the students and community … that you are a person they can feel comfortable talking to,” Harper said.

The next Allies Network training is March 4, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., in Harper’s office, 617 William Pitt Union.


In other SAC news:

• SAC members, led by the health, safety, IT and transportation committee, held a campus crawl on Nov. 17 in response to recent fatal accidents in Oakland. They toured the campus and took pictures of safety concerns, compiling a list that they submitted to Pitt Police, City of Pittsburgh Police and Pitt’s Office of Parking, Transportation and Services.

Ken Doty, chair of the SAC committee, declined to detail the group’s findings until after SAC members meet with University administrators and Pitt Police in December.

• Staff relations committee chair Tammeka Banks said SAC had received 1,750 responses to its campus-wide staff survey, designed to elicit opinions on SAC’s mission and goals, “to see if we are actually doing them.” While an early look at results reveals that SAC is headed in a direction desired by many staff, she said, “there are a couple of things we’re going to look at” as potential new goals. Banks will make a full report on the survey results early next year.

• There will be no December meeting. The Jan. 13 meeting will be in the University Club.

• Operations committee head Hillary Koller said SAC had received 24 applicants for its annual book fund awards for the children of staff who are current Pitt students. Winners will be announced at the Dec. 8 long-term staff recognition ceremony.

—Marty Levine          

Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 7

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