This week members of your SRC protested outside the Vice Chancellors office to demand that Sydney University publically support marriage equality. The university and Vice Chancellor Michael Spence have chosen to remain neutral on the issue of marriage equality. Their reasoning for this is that universities should be a place for intellectual freedom, where debate and respectful discussion can be had around important issues. However marriage equality isn’t just an important issue, marriage equality is a fundamental human right. Countless other universities across the country have announced their support for marriage equality and its time for Usyd to do the same.
Our university claims to support the LGBTI+ community. They proudly fly the rainbow flag atop the quad, they boast of their ally network and of the universities involvement in Mardi Gras. Beyond that the university’s latest marketing campaign ‘unlearn …’ includes an image of two men getting married with the tagline ‘unlearn love’. The university cannot use the LGBTI+ community as a marketing tool to make them money whilst refusing to support their fight for a basic human right. They cannot claim to support LGBTI+ students and staff when they continue to refuse to acknowledge the LGBTI+ community’s struggle.
As Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” and its extremely clear what side our university has chosen. They have chosen the side that tells LGBTI+ students and staff that they are not equal, that they are not a part of our community and that they don’t deserve to marry who they love.
We can’t afford to be complacent in the fight for marriage equality. Make sure you vote YES and that your ballot is posted back before November 7.