A message from Mount President Dr. Mary Bluechardt
Pride is a time of celebration, but with an important context and history.
The Halifax Pride website reminds us of the history of the pride parade and the issues that drove its development: “Members of the city’s gay and lesbian community organized [the first] Pride Week [in 1988] without the benefit of legal protections. Amidst growing unrest about rampant prejudice and discrimination, that first Pride March was primarily a protest over the lack of legal protection from discrimination, and the all-too-common threat of homophobic violence.” While we celebrate the gains that have been made, we must always strive to do better as a society, a community and a university.
The Mount was founded on a commitment to equality and inclusion – and these principles remain at the core of our University today.
It is fitting that this year we mark Halifax Pride celebrations (July 19 to 29, 2018) with several activities. I’m pleased to report that we recently undertook to ensure some visible signs of our commitment to an inclusive campus environment, supportive of members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. For example, we raised the pride flag on a new pole affixed to the front of the Seton Academic Centre. As well, we installed four new picnic tables painted in the colours of the pride flag and painted the stairs up the hill to Evaristus Hall in the same colours. Good news – the stairs will be that way year round.
Of course, efforts in support of an inclusive campus community should be year round. We’ve been working on related inclusion efforts at the Mount for some time and some of what we will focus on going forward includes a discussion about safe spaces, documentation/use of preferred names, inclusive health services/resources and more. We will also continue to support our students, faculty, and staff who are themselves advancing efforts with a focus on the 2SLGBTQ+ community, including research and other endeavours.
In the week ahead, you’ll be able to read on the University’s website and social media channels about some of these initiatives; for example, a story is in the works featuring the Mount Students’ Union’s Pride Centre. Additional stories will spotlight teaching and research with a 2SLGBTQ+ focus at the Mount. I encourage you to take a moment to read each of these pieces.
Mount students, faculty, staff and alum — don’t forget to RSVP to events this week, including the BBQ and parade (details should be in your inbox).
It is our commitment at the Mount to ensure an environment that is supportive and inclusive of all. Let’s show our #MSVUPride this week and always. If you have ideas to help further our efforts, I would be happy to hear from you and encourage you to be in touch.
Dr. Mary Bluechardt
President and Vice-Chancellor
Mount Saint Vincent University
The photo above of me and my dogs was inspired by the wonderful shot by @saltydog.petsitting which you can see here.