Sheffield Hallam faces online backlash following Stonewall award

Sheffield Hallam has received backlash online after it sent a tweet celebrating their Stonewall Workplace Equality Index Award.

The university received the award for their efforts to create an inclusive and diverse work environment for their LGBTQ+ staff. 

However after posting their award on Twitter, the University was flooded with concerns from students, alumni and parents surrounding the University’s links to Stonewall.

Stonewall has previously faced controversy over its stance on transgender issues.

After receiving the award the university tweeted out a press release including a quote from Professor David Shepherd, Sheffield Hallam University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, which said: “We are very proud of this achievement.

“We know there is more we can and must do to improve the experience of LGBTQ+ members of our diverse University community and to ensure that everyone can achieve their potential.”

Twitter users were quick to dispute the positives, highlighting that several Universities, including The University of Sheffield, have now cut ties with the organisation.

Twitter user @WeeGlasgow said: “Shame you didn’t use that same amount of time and energy to address your enormous disgraceful gender pay gap.”

Another wrote: “I am now ashamed to be an alumnus of @sheffhallamuni.”

Hallam’s student unions LGBT+ Committee links Stonewall in their wellbeing resources for students to reach out to. 

Currently Hallam University is one of over 850 employers that pay to be a part of Stonewall’s diversity programme and in return are provided support from the organisation on LGBTQ+ issues. 

Part of the scheme is to be entered into the Workplace Equality Index Award where companies are benchmarked against each other in order to work towards a place on the list for the top 100 employers for LGBT+ inclusion.

Stonewall have praised Hallam’s involvement with their organisation. Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall said: “It’s been fantastic to see all the work put in by Sheffield Hallam University over the past year.”

Hallam have yet to release an official response to these comments, but have disabled comments to their staff Twitter page in response to this backlash.

The university insists it has implemented policies relating to discrimination, bullying and harassment through its dignity at work scheme and has an inclusive approach to policies.

Written by Angel Sang

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