Thursday, February 9, 2023

Students pledge to be allies

November 15, 2000

PRISM, a residence hall caucus group for lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered students living in South Complex, hopes to make allies of LBGT students more visible in residence halls.

The group has initiated an Ally Sign campaign outside of cafeterias in South Complex halls. Those participating in the campaign sign cards pledging to be an “ally for all people, regardless of age, color, gender, disability status, height, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or weight.”

Jay Anderson, PRISM president, said the group followed MSU’s anti-discrimination policy as the model for the pledge.

“Everyone should be respected for their differences,” said the Lyman Briggs, computer science and science and technology studies senior. “And we’re trying to encourage respect for all groups.”

Lindsay Noechel, a co-director for the Alliance of Lesbian-Bi-Gay and Transgendered Students, said it’s important to include as many groups as possible when promoting understanding.

“There’s many more oppressed groups than most people realize,” said Noechel, a psychology junior. “Awareness has to come from everybody. Not just from the inside.”

The campaign began Monday. U.S. Sen.-elect Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, was the first ally. Allies promise to treat individuals with respect and dignity, learn about people different from themselves, confront offensive jokes and remarks and create a “safe, supportive and inclusive community for everyone.”

Each sign will be placed on the doors of those who sign them, making them visible to passers-by. Anderson said he hopes the signs will help in making the dorms a safer environment for all students.

“If people walk down the hall and see a lot of these up, maybe they’ll think twice about the way they deal with people that are different than them,” he said.

Noechel said the campaign is a positive step in helping members of various communities.

Brent Bilodeau, MSU’s assistant for LBGT concerns, said he is excited about PRISM’s campaign since it encourages respect for all people and not just one group.

“This is the first time I’ve seen an LBGT campus group create an initiative that focuses on treating all individuals with dignity and worth, particularly those who have experienced oppression,” Bilodeau said.

PRISM will host an Ally Sign table from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today outside of the Wonders Hall cafeteria.

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