Polytechnic first with Rainbow Tick

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Otago Polytechnic has become the first polytechnic in the country awarded Rainbow Tick accreditation.
Polytechnic organisational researcher in quality management Stuart Terry said the award, which focused on providing an “inclusive” workplace that encouraged diversity, especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBT) staff members.
Benchmark qualifiers for the accreditation included policies, training on LGBT equality for staff and support for diversity, but the “Tick” also advised workplaces on how they could improve and could provide training, he said.
The tertiary institution was the first polytechnic in the country and one of the first workplaces in the South Island to receive the accreditation, which is assessed by Rainbow Tick.
While the polytechnic had been “inclusive” of sexuality and gender diversity for a while, the “evidence-based” assessment criteria of the institution’s policies and procedures had seen the polytechnic include a statement of inclusiveness in its official policies, Mr Terry said.
Annual accreditation would be ongoing to include assessing developments such as installing gender-neutral toilets during redevelopments and working with the Ministry of Education so the polytechnic data records could include genders other than the options of just “male” and “female”.
The polytechnic’s accreditation process had been under way since 2015, he said.
Mr Terry had heard “anecdotal comments” from staff that many students, especially new ones, felt “uplifted” and “empowered” seeing rainbow flags in the tertiary institution’s Hub to celebrate accreditation, plus seeing the permanent flag flying on a campus flagpole.
Rainbow Tick is an independent national service run by Auckland-based mental health organisation Affinity Services, a stand-alone Charitable Company, owned by the Affinity Services Charitable Trust, a body with a track record of more than 30 years.