Background, history and purpose

The University of Southampton Pulse LGBT+ Staff Network is an autonomous group for LGBT+ people and their friends and supporters. Staff developed the idea for the Network during sessions of the University’s Sexual Orientation Working Group, chaired by Janice Rippon (then Director of Student Services), which first met in July 2009. The University joined the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme in February 2010 and two members of SOWG attended a Stonewall Workplace Conference in March that year. An Action Group under the sponsorship of Debra Humphris (then Pro Vice-Chancellor Education) formed the Network in July 2010.

Why ‘Pulse’?

Often within LGBT+ history terrible events take place which become the landmark for change in law, attitudes and culture. LGBT+ organisations and campaigners will then choose to name themselves that reflects the struggle and injustice which took place (for example, Terrence Higgins, Stonewall).

In 2016, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando was the location of an horrific massacre of the LGBT+ community, and showed the world that there was still work to do in changing attitudes and bringing people together. For this reason, we held a Network vote and the motion was passed to rename to Pulse and stand in solidarity with the world-wide LGBT+ community.

Purpose of the Pulse LGBT+ Staff Network

The Network aims to work in partnership with the University of Southampton and other LGBT+ networks to create a safe, inclusive and diverse working environment that encourages respect and equality for all, regardless of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The Network believes that, in order for every individual to reach their full potential, there must be no fear of discrimination or disrespect.