Equal Opportunities Awareness Campaign promotes respect for diversity
Lingnan University’s 3rd Equal Opportunities Awareness Campaign was concluded in mid-March with a series of activities organised, including the “Flying Dreams in a Wheelchair Art Exhibition” presented by an ethnic minority student in wheelchair, and various workshops, lectures, forums and community service activities. Prof Lisa Leung Yuk-ming, Chairperson of the Lingnan University Equal Opportunities Committee (LUEOC) hopes the Campaign can further promote respect for diversity to teachers and students and reflect the essence of Lingnan’s liberal arts education.
It is the third consecutive year that the LUEOC organises the “Equal Opportunities Awareness Campaign”. The theme for this year is “Respect for Diversity”. From “Understanding Diversity” of the first year, to “Appreciating Diversity” of last year, and to “Respect for Diversity” this year, Prof Leung said that the themes were arranged in a progressive manner. “We hope people could take a step further to respect diversity after being able to understand and appreciate diversity. Particularly in today’s macro-environment in which the society is divided, people may have verbal conflicts due to difference in opinions. As the university is an epitome of the society, we hope to remind everyone of the importance of respect for diversity,” said Prof Leung.
Prof Leung pointed out that in the past two years, Lingnan has been introducing a number of measures and plans to promote an inclusive campus. “For example, LUEOC has launched a student ambassador programme in which physically healthy student ambassadors take the initiative to make friends with students with special educational needs (SEN) to understand their needs, especially in hostel life and school life. We provide training to student ambassadors, teach them communication skills, and cultivate their sensitivity, empathy and self-reflection ability to achieve friendly and effective communications.”
In addition to caring for SEN students, the University is committed to promoting “equal opportunities” on campus in terms of policy. “The University has formulated a series of policies to promote equal opportunities, whether it is for admission, teaching and learning, and campus facilities such as introducing barrier-free facilities. For staff recruitment, the University has communicated with departments to ensure equal opportunities are provided in the recruitment process,” said Prof Leung. She added that if the University receives complaints related to discrimination, they will also be handled in accordance with established mechanism.
Prof Leung hopes that the above measures can promote an awareness of equal opportunities on campus and protect the rights and opportunities of different people, so as to enable students to learn how to think in multiple perspectives and demonstrate the essence of Lingnan’s liberal arts education. “What we want to achieve most is to promote an open-mindedness of mutual care and understanding of diversity on campus, as Lingnan is an institution of liberal arts education whose core value is to encourage teachers and students to respect and accept each other, and to always maintain an open attitude to accept different cultures.”
In fact in the past two years, the efforts of LUEOC have paid off directly or indirectly. “As in this year, we have held forums for ethnic minorities in the past to share their stories. From this we get to know the structural and institutional unfairness faced by ethnic minorities in Hong Kong,” said Prof Leung. She added that with the enhanced awareness of equal opportunities on campus, the University has put “respect for diversity” into top consideration in the development of the curriculum, activities and services in recent years. “For example, the University will target more diversified organisations when sourcing partner organisations for Service-Learning projects, such as disabled groups, elderly groups and women's organisations. This allows students to get in touch with different communities and issues through Service-Learning, and understand and respect for diversity.”
Looking ahead, Prof Leung stated that LUEOC will continue to deepen the message among LU community.