UOPX and its Allies of Pride Employee Resource Group continue to push boundaries for equality
June was selected for LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) Pride Month in commemoration of the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969 in New York City and became a catalyst for the gay rights movement. Each June, millions of people from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies participate in parades, marches, festivals and other activities to show the world they’re individuals who are, quite literally, a proud and integral part of a diverse society.
Pride Month also serves as a time to peacefully encourage a commitment by all to raise awareness of inequality and the current issues affecting the community, as well as highlight ongoing initiatives to encourage inclusive environments. Pride Month is not simply about hoping people realize or accept that diversity exists. Rather, it is meant to be a lens to view the role inclusion plays in our lives at a micro and macro level, including in the workplace. What are the stereotypes that exist? How can we as individuals and groups help change those stereotypes?
“This year, Pride events have been cancelled all over the country. However, it’s important to remember that Pride is not just a parade or a specific month in which we celebrate. Pride is what we do every day. It’s what’s inside us, how we live our lives open and honestly and how we support each other. Pride is Never Cancelled,” Fink said recently.
Allies of Pride Employee Resource Group
Proud to support LGBTQ+ who are part of the UOPX family, University of Phoenix continues to go above and beyond to integrate programs to provide mental and physical protection to their students, faculty and employees. The University-formed Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), the first of which was Allies of Pride, made its goal to coordinate events and offer a voice to those without a platform to speak. Those events make a difference. Julie Fink, vice president of human resources at UOPX, tells of a particular event several years ago that exemplifies the purpose of the group.
“An employee approached our Allies of Pride ERG booth at an event and stated that she had been a ‘closeted’ employee for over 15 years,” Fink says. “With the establishment of Allies of Pride, this signaled to her, very publicly, that the University completely accepted and supported her.”
Diversity is everything that makes you unique. We’re constantly looking for new thoughts, ideas and practices to build a better workplace and University.
— Julie Fink, vice president human resources, University of Phoenix
Perfect score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index
The University continues to push the limits of inclusion. Perfect successive scores on the HRC Corporate Equality Index highlight UOPX’s willingness to review practices to make changes or adapt to evolving nondiscrimination views.
The HRC Corporate Equality Index is a self-reported system that evaluates workplace equality in regard to specific criteria.
- Workforce protections
- Inclusive benefits
- Supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility
- Responsible citizenship
University of Phoenix has received a perfect Equality Index score consecutively over the past three years, setting the benchmark for workplace inclusion and acceptance. To date, UOPX is the only college or university to receive the designation.
“This sends a very clear message to our students, faculty, alumni, employees and the public that we value diversity and inclusion and that we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” Fink says. “Our successive perfect scores show our willingness to relook at our practices and determine if any changes are necessary to adapt to evolving nondiscrimination views.”
The University continues to work to establish an atmosphere of inclusion. Diversity defined is everything that makes a person unique, Fink says.
Diversity and the comprehensive inclusion of all LGBTQ+ students and employees makes the UOPX community adaptive and rightfully evolutionary. UOPX strives to continually implement innovative adaptations that bring us all forward, together and at the same time.
The irony of leading the charge by embracing diversity and proactively seeking it out, as UOPX does, is that it makes for exceptional collaborative advantages, Fink says. The University was created to serve a diverse, underserved population and continues to do so with faculty members who come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
“The University continues to provide equal access to education and an inclusive work environment,” Fink says. “This is how we grow..