This past year we have seen many instances nationally of young people who identify as LGBTQ taking their lives after being bullied. At the University of Arizona, we are committed to keeping every member of our community safe so that they can learn and work in an inclusive and welcoming environment, free from discrimination and harassment.
UA President Robert Shelton has taken a strong stance against harassment of any kind. In partnership with his President’s Community LGBTQ Advisory Council, President Shelton has made a commitment to leverage the world-class research conducted at the University of Arizona to stop bullying and make a positive difference in the lives of LGBTQ campus community members.
Many across campus share this same strong commitment, such as Professor Stephen T. Russell, the University of Arizona's Fitch Nesbitt Endowed Chair, who recently spoke in the UA Speaker’s Series, Debating Diversity: Approaches to Equity and Opportunity in a Changing Democracy. To learn more about Professor Russell’s research or hear his talk, please visit: http://blog.ltc.arizona.edu/debating_diversity/invited-speakers/stephen-...
As an illustration of this mission, President Shelton has created a video for the It Gets Better and the Make It Better Projects. The It Gets Better Project is a world-wide movement designed to help connect LGBTQ young people with mentors, and others who have faced harassment so young people can realize they are not alone; and to inspire them with stories illustrating that life does get better as we mature into adulthood.
The Make It Better Project builds on the It Gets Better Project by encouraging LGBTQ teens to become actively involved in making it better. The site connects interested users to resources such as suicide hotlines, strategies for generating support, and tips for creating gay-straight alliances.
Transcript of President Shelton’s Video
Hello, I am Robert Shelton, President of the University of Arizona. This past year we have seen many instances of young people taking their lives after being bullied—I am always shocked and saddened when I hear these stories. This should not be happening— bullying of any sort is unacceptable. We must end it. We will make it better.
I pledge to do my part to use the world class research conducted at the University of Arizona to stop bullying and make a positive difference in the lives of LGBTQ students. We are genuinely committed to keeping all members of our community safe so that they can learn and work in an inclusive and welcoming environment free from discrimination and harassment. We will always take a strong stance on discrimination and harassment in any form including harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as — on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status.
At the UA, I work with some of the most talented faculty, staff, and students in the world, and I truly believe the creativity that comes from our diversity will help us find a way to make it better for you, our LGBTQ students and colleagues, for allies, for all of us. We are all diminished when those we love are bullied; I will not stand idly by and do nothing. We will be relentless until the bullying and harassment of our LGBTQ friends and family is a relic of the past.
I am speaking to you from my heart. You are not alone. There are people who care and are here to support you. I support you … the UA supports you. We embrace you for who you are. If you are struggling, hold on, reach out to your friends. It gets better.
And together, we are making it better.