These programs develop and maintain a network of informed students, faculty, and staff who are skilled at responding knowledgeably and sensitively to LGBTQ+ students’ needs and who are willing to be visibly supportive of students who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer. We work to foster a campus climate in which all students–regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity–may feel safe, supported, respected, and affirmed.
Both initiatives seek to provide visible, structural rationales through governance flowcharts and program goals. These materials are forthcoming.
The Allies Program
Maybe you’ve seen “Safe Zone” or “I’m an Ally” stickers or buttons across campus. These visual indicators mean different things, but most often, they seek to communicate that a person has undergone ALLIES program training and are open to talking about issues that affect and impact the LGBTQ+ community while supporting those individuals who identify as LGTBQ+. At the University of Mississippi, the ALLIES program seeks to empower individuals and groups with the skills and training necessary to communicate to others the commitment we’re making as an institution to creating LGBTQ+ inclusive environments, effectively putting into practice the university’s core tenants of inclusion, civility, dignity, and diversity. Prospective ALLIES are asked to register for upcoming training sessions and events–either as students, faculty and staff, or departments/programs.
The M-Pride Program
This is a partner initiative to the ALLIES program, and was developed to focuses on LGBTQ+ students themselves and their intersectional needs along other axes of difference, inclusive of sexuality and gender, but cognizant of race, nationality, ethnicity, class, language, religion, and ability. The M-PRIDE program equips LGBTQ+ students to cultivate their authentic identities and become proud, engaged, and empowered members of the UM community. M-PRIDE students serve as ambassadors from their respective registered student organizations including UM Pride Network and Q.P.O.C., along with LGBTQ+ students from the wider general undergraduate and graduate body, to educate their peers seeking ALLIES training, celebrate their collectivity, express their individuality, and foster inclusivity and acceptance campus-wide.
The ALLIES program at the University of Mississippi was originally developed and coordinated by the University Counseling Center and Outreach Programming, in conjunction with the GSA student organization. For several years, the faculty/staff ALLIES program was spearheaded by the Sarah Isom Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. It is now housed jointly between the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement and the University Counseling Center.