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UWS first in UW System to join gay student allies group
More than 150 students, faculty, coaches, and community members filled the Great Room on UW-Superior’s campus Thursday in support of the “You Can Play” project. Brad Phenow reports.
“You Can Play” is a national campaign dedicated to ensuring equality, respect, and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. UW-Superior is the first college in Wisconsin to support the campaign, complete with a three minute video featuring UW-Superior coaches and athletes.
“You Can Play” began in 2012 and has gained support from athletes at all levels across the country. Student-athletes who pledged to support the project attended a three hour training session on how to make their locker room a safe zone for all athletes despite their sexual orientation.
Terry McGlasson is an Assistant Professor of Guidance and Counseling at UW-Superior. He is a gay man who took 37 year to come out of the closet. He says when he was first asked to be a part of the campaign he was optimistic about the support from the student-athletes.
“I was thinking in my head if we get 10 or 15 athletes to participate in this it’s going to be an awesome thing”.
After pitching the idea to coaches and athletes, more than 70 UW-Superior students signed up. Athletic Director Steve Nelson says he has never been so proud.
“In all my years associated with college athletics, 25 years, I don’t think I have ever seen a group of student-athletes become more engaged in taking ownership of a cause in the way that our group right here has in the “You Can Play” project.”
Nelson says this is an invitation to take part in the project.
“Like the program says, if you can play, you can play. And we welcome everyone to be a part of what we are doing at UW-Superior.”
Nelson says this is fighting for equality.
“”You Can Play” is focused on sexual orientation, but really, this issue goes beyond sexual orientation. This is a fundamental human rights issue, and that is our agenda.”
You can see the video at http://uwsyellowjackets.com/
(Brad Phenow is one of the student athletes who pledged to support the “You Can Play” project)
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