LGBTQ+ Panel Discussion Hosted at Griffith College Dublin

pride in higher education, LGBT event, Griffith College

On Wednesday, May 8th 2024, the EDI Committee at Griffith College Dublin hosted a significant event titled "Pride in Higher Education: Empowering LGBTQIA+ People and Community." This served as a dynamic platform to discuss the critical themes of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion within Higher Education settings. This event was chaired by Dr. Annie Doona, Chair of Griffith College's Academic Professional Council, and featured a diverse panel of speakers who are deeply involved in LGBTQIA+ advocacy and education.

The panel included: 

James O'Hagan, the Coordinator for the LGBT Ireland Champions Training Programme and current GCD learner.
Robert McKenna, the Head Librarian at Griffith College.
Han Tiernan, an editor at GCN Magazine and a researcher, writer, and artist specializing in Queer History as well as a graduate of Griffith. 
Jean-Anne Kennedy, the Academic Quality Assurance and Enhancement Project Manager, Co-Chair of the EDI Committee and Athena Swan Project Co-Lead.
John Eardly, Programme Director of the Law Faculty at Griffith College and a member of the college's EDI Committee.

Attendees included staff, lecturers, learners, and visitors from beyond the Griffith community, including other colleges and their EDI representatives and Queer Staff Network members. 

LGBTQIA+ Event Griffith College

They were all drawn together by the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations and gain insights into the significance of inclusivity in educational environments. The event proved to be an excellent venue for celebration and dialogue, creating a more inclusive and supportive environment within our educational community. 

The President opened the event by delving into the significance of E (Equality), D (Diversity), and I (Inclusion), emphasising the universal agreement on the importance of EDI for all, by all. College is a time and space where people, often young people, are presented with the opportunity to explore their own identities and values. 

LGBTQIA+ Event Griffith College

Colleges have a responsibility to support learners and staff through this, both as a provider of space, but also as a holder of knowledge and sharing that knowledge. The panel talked about the learner journey and how seeing and learning about queer people helps them grow as a person and that generally, society benefits from the inclusion of everyone so we all win when everyone is included. The audience questions were thought provoking – where do we go from here? Should EDI be compulsory for staff? And what’s next for Griffith? What’s next for higher education? There was talk about ally-training (how effective can it be), the need for staff training, more events (but not only events, also action) and how all if this needs to be approached with a sense of responsible sustainability – to focus on engaging people, including everyone, the importance of language, consistency. Overall, it was a very successful event with lots of conversation happening afterwards and more to come in the future!

Special thanks to Becks Butler (Co-Chair of the EDI Committee and Athena SWAN Co-Lead) , Stephanie Naughter, Eris Petsyukha, and Vibhuti Desai, and all those who made the event possible! For more information, you can contact the EDI committee at [email protected] or visit Equality, Diversity and Inclusion | Griffith College