In response to last year’s homophobic beating of a Jamaican student by University of Technology security personnel, the school has launched a competition to promote tolerance countrywide.
Even before the tolerance competition was announced, the university had drawn praise from LGBT activists for its response to the beatings. In fact, the top item on activists’ list of Top 10 LGBT achievements in 2012 in Jamaica involved UTech:
“1. Strong official response to a homophobic beating in November
“In an unprecedented move, the administration of the University of Technology (UTech) Jamaica has shown great leadership following the homophobic beating of an alleged gay student by other students and security guards on November 1, 2012. The university has undertaken a number of initiatives to address the matter, including the development of a plan of action for strengthening tolerance and respect for diversity among its various populations. It has held public discussions regarding tolerance and has developed diversity-training courses for security personnel to begin this year.”
Now, with support from the European Union, the university has announced this event:
The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) invites submissions to its competition to promote tolerance and respect on its campuses as well as across Jamaica. The competition is part of a series of initiatives to address the recent incident of mob violence on the university’s Papine campus that left a student severely injured.
The competition seeks to:
stimulate debate among tertiary students regarding diversity, tolerance and respect for others in the context of a Jamaica that must play an increasingly important role on the global stage;
communicate the individual’s responsibility for promoting this role as one defined by the civil and respectful engagement of difference, and
promote an environment in which students can freely and safely express their opinions.
The competition is motivated by the university’s policy of non-discrimination against individuals based on gender, ethnicity, national origin, social background, religion or sexual orientation, as well as its desire to foster a culture of courage, respect and dialogue, where students, as a mark of their education, stand up and voice their views on matters of importance to them rather than resort to violence.
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