Diversity at Salem State University
Salem State University is an open and supportive community where celebrating and accepting our collective diversity is highly valued and protected. The university offers many opportunities where individuals can find support. Students can connect with others who share common experiences as well as meet people who are different from them by getting involved in campus events and student organizations. These activities offer all students the chance to learn about diverse cultures.
Salem State University has instituted policies to provide students with equal access to educational and employment opportunities at the university without regard to one's sexual orientation. In addition, there are laws and policies that protect students from harassment or discrimination as they pursue their education. There are many offices on campus that are well-equipped to address different types of concerns, including the equal opportunity office, residence life staff, judicial affairs office, and the campus police.
The Alliance is a student group that offers opportunities to meet socially, plan events, lobby politically and/or find support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students and their straight allies. The Alliance has sponsored activities for GLBT Awareness Month, Transgender Day of Remembrance, AIDS Awareness, social dances, drag shows, and more. Be sure to look for their open receptions at the beginning of each semester to meet members of the Salem State University GLBT community. For information contact the Alliance office in Room 206 of the Ellison Campus Center at 978.542.7541.
How to Be an Ally
Allies are people who are supportive of the GLBT community. There are many ways to show your support and sensitivity.
Test your assumptions:
When you see someone's who is single, do you assume that they are looking for someone of the opposite sex? When someone talks with you about their relationship, do you assume it is with someone of the opposite sex? Assuming that everyone you see or interact with is heterosexual (known as heterosexism) is a subtle way to alienate those near you who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.
Use inclusive language:
Ask about someone's "significant other" rather than their boyfriend or girlfriend. Check your use of language with friends who may be openly gay. Understand that there are a variety of opinions about appropriate expressions, but again, try not to assume that everyone is heterosexual.
Refrain from using language that may be insensitive:
Be sensitive to the fact that people have different comfort levels with language. If you use words that are considered slurs by the GLBT community, you could be offending others inadvertently. For example, some GLBT people have embraced the word "queer" as a way to turn around a derogatory label. This same word, though, said by someone who is not gay can be an insult. Don't tell jokes or make comments that stereotype or demean GLBT people.
Display positive symbols:
There are many symbols that indicate support, including rainbows and pink triangles. Rainbows signify that there are GLBT people in all races. The pink triangle was used by the Nazis during World War II to label suspected homosexuals in concentration camps. This symbol of past persecution has been embraced by the GLBT community as a source of pride. Wearing a button on a backpack or clothing can be a way to show that you are an ally.