The university’s first ally training program has been created to educate students and faculty on the needs of the LGBTQ community.
Allies are faculty, staff and students knowledgeable about LGBTQ issues and who choose to openly support and advocate for those individuals. There are about 20 people signed up to be allies.
“An ally is really someone who is consciously engaging in actions with people of a different background,” said Remy Barnett, the university’s Title IX investigator.
The first ally training will consist of two sessions, one from 9-10 a.m. and the second from 1-2 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Great Hall in Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center.
Russell Tallchief, director of student engagement, inclusion and multicultural programs, is organizing the training sessions and others that will happen throughout the year.
“It’s great to have allies in the LGBTQ community because our faculty and staff have years of life experience and some even have degrees in LGBTQ studies that they can share,” Tallchief said. “Allies don’t have all the answers, but we do have resources we can share.”
Barnett will lead the ally training.
Ally training on campus is important, and Matthew Hester, film production senior, said he hopes students take advantage of it.
“Not only does this open doors for organizations like SPECTRUM, creating a climate in which more Queer-centric educational and artistic events may occur, but it gives those of us who are constantly disparaged for our sexual orientation or gender identity a voice within the academic community and, hopefully, within Oklahoma as a whole,” said Hester.
“Ally training is an invaluable experience, both for the open-minded individuals who attend and the OCU population as a whole.”
Students who want to attend may R.S.V.P. by emailing Tallchief at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who attend the meeting will receive a T-shirt and a “safe zone” sticker to hang in their rooms, signifying that it is a safe space to openly talk about people’s needs.
“We are so blessed here at OCU to have such an open-minded community where we can do things like this,” Tallchief said. “I think this is something that is unique to us and it’s something that we all can sense and should be proud of.”