Staff members become ally for LGBT community

More than 100 UH staff and faculty members are allies of the LGBT community, and several participants attended Cougar Ally Training Wednesday afternoon to increase their knowledge and to become helpful to students in need.Facilitators Nathan Mckee (left), Selby Lo (middle) and Melanie Fitzpatrick (right) educated the group with LGBT facts, terms, history and trivia during Cougar Ally Training Wednesday afternoon. | Aisha Bouderdaben/The Daily Cougar

The facilitators of Cougar Ally Training — Lab Operations Supervisor Nathan Mckee, Graduate School of Social Work Program Director Melanie Barr Fitzpatrick and Activities Advisor Selby Lo — all worked to promote the awareness of the LGBT community. Lo stressed the importance of holding a monthly training for UH.

“We hope that attendants leave training with a better understanding of others and knowledge of available resources for students,” Lo said. “Knowing the resources is half of the battle in creating a safe environment.”

Also having assisted three training sessions for more than a year, Lo shared the impact of working with Cougar Allies and the LGBT community.

“This entire experience has helped me learn about myself as a person,” Lo said. “I highly encourage more people to attend.”

Dean of Students graduate assistant Branston Harris participated in Cougar Ally Training to grasp an understanding of the LGBT community.

“UH is an institution of higher learning with a diverse population of students who come from all kinds of backgrounds. It’s important that we have the information to help all students. We don’t want them to feel segregated by any means,” Harris said.

Assistant Dean of Students DuJuan Smith has attended ally trainings at previous institutions and was eager to be involved in the training at UH.

“The training reinforced positive things about the LGBT community that I already knew,” Smith said. “Being an advocate and providing assistance and resources for students is incredibly important.”

The next Cougar Ally Training session will be held July 16.

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