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2014

Seán Dillon and Shona Robison to launch Abertay equality campaign

2 April 2014

Dundee United Captain Seán Dillon and Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison MSP will attend the launch of a new campaign at Abertay University on Thursday, April 3.

The equality and diversity campaign, entitled 'Embracing Diversity - Watch Your Language', is a joint initiative between Abertay University and UADSA (the University of Abertay Dundee Students' Association).

It has been started in order to raise awareness within the student body of the protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010, such as age, sexual orientation and race.

Abertay sports teams are the initial audience for campaign materials.

A Q&A will take place at the event, featuring Seán Dillon - Captain of Dundee United FC; Chris Dodds - Communities Manager at Basketball Scotland; Lukasz Rusin - Equity Officer at the Scottish FA; Sarah Samson - Vice-President of UADSA; and Lani Baird - NUS Scotland LGBT Officer.

This will be a chance for students to ask questions related to equality and diversity, and to hear the views of respected people from within the world of professional sport.

A short film showcasing how Abertay students are working with disability sports groups within the local community will also be premiered at Thursday's event.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Andrea Cameron - Head of the School of Social and Health Sciences at Abertay University - said:

"University sports teams can sometimes get a reputation for not always using inclusive language, so we're launching this campaign to try and help students think about what they say and do - whether that's on the pitch, amongst friends, or on social media.

"There are, however, also many examples of inclusivity and one of these will be highlighted in a new film that has been made to illustrate some of the work our students have been doing with Dundee Dragons - a community-based disability sports organisation who play wheelchair basketball, rugby and tennis.

"The whole ethos of this campaign is about expanding beliefs, and Dundee Dragons focus on what it is possible to do, rather than what it isn't. They do this by fielding mixed teams of able-bodied and disabled people, and we hope that by raising awareness of the work they do, it will lead to greater understanding of capabilities, and result in a more inclusive culture."

Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison MSP said:

"There should be no barriers to sport - everyone should be able to take part, whoever they are and whatever their situation.

"Human Rights and Equality is at the heart of the business of the Scottish Government. Our success as a nation depends on building a society where barriers are removed and people can fulfil their true potential.

"Inclusivity is key along with good coaches and volunteers who are the bedrock of making sport happen. It is all about 'ability' not disability when taking part in sport and this campaign will help to highlight just how much can be done by individuals and communities."

Dundee United Club Captain Seán Dillon - who was inducted into the Show Racism the Red Card Hall of Fame in 2013 - said:

"Sport can be a blueprint for a better society in that it brings people of different backgrounds, colours, beliefs and abilities together on the field of play. It is important that we as sport professionals set an example for the culture we want to see in wider society."

Sarah Samson, Vice-President of UADSA, said:

"UADSA is proud to be working on this project with Abertay University and students. UADSA is dedicated to ensuring that Abertay is an inclusive and safe environment for all students and non-students, and the work of the project will help ensure that we attain these goals. The work undertaken by students with the Dundee Dragons, including other outreach and community work, is exemplary and we need to highlight this work to show what our students can achieve."

Although Thursday's event has a sports focus, the campaign seeks to raise knowledge of the Equality Act 2010, with a particular initial emphasis on age, disability, gender reassignment, race and sexual orientation.

As well as the video, the campaign will include a range of online resources hosted on the UADSA website.

These are designed to help students avoid the pitfalls of saying the wrong thing, as well as to offer support to those on the receiving end of any negative comments.

Events to raise awareness of these issues will also take place throughout the coming year and beyond.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 E: 07972172158 E k.cameron@abertay.ac.uk

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