An “Enfys” for Sussex…
As Head of School for Mathematical and Physical Sciences I get to do all kinds of jobs across the University to do with all kinds of matters, academic and non-academic alike. In the course of one of these – chairing the University’s Human Resources Committee – it occurred to me that it was very strange that it was a bit strange that a University (Sussex) so close to a famously gay-friendly city (Brighton) didn’t have any real forum for LGBT staff to share information, to support each other, and to run social, cultural or other events. It also seemed strange to me that the University of Sussex was not part of the Stonewall Diversity Champions scheme. Even worse, there is no official University staff representation at Brighton’s annual Pride celebrations, though the Student LGBTQ society has
My former institution, Cardiff University, not only has a thriving staff network (called Enfys, the Welsh word for “Rainbow”) and belongs to the Stonewall scheme, it also ranks 24th in the top 100 Equality Index of all UK employers.
Anyway, it was definitely with Enfys in mind that I suggested setting up a similar network here on the Sussex campus, open to all staff (not just academics). I wasn’t sure whether there would be any enthusiasm for it, but the senior management of the University gave me their backing to try.
And so it came to pass that we announced that a network was being set up, and there would be a kind of “launch party” on 18th June to plan what sort of things we would do. I had no idea how many people would be interested and was quite prepared for the idea to bomb completely. However, just a couple of weeks after the initial announcement we have more than 50 people on the mailing list, and I’m expecting good turnout for the launch which I hope will be a fun occasion in itself but also the start of something very interesting to be part of. I also hope people bring plenty of ideas for the sorts of events and activities we can organize and the energy and enthusiasm to work at actually bringing these ideas into being.
One of the most important things we have to do, though, is to come up with a name. Although I nicked the idea from them I don’t think we can really use Enfys. And “Sussex University LGBT Staff Network” sounds a bit dull. Any suggestions?Follow @telescoper