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Columbia Business School Celebrates Ally Week

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Columbia Business School (CBS) last week celebrated the allies in its community—those who support and stand up for the rights of LGBT people—as part of its annual Ally Week. Taking place from November 14th through 18th, the week included a range of activities organized by Cluster Q, CBS’s LGBT Business Association.

Events ranged from an “Ask a Q Anything” Supper Club—giving allies a chance to ask Cluster Q members questions about the coming-out process, politics and identities within the LGBT spectrum—to a “How to Be an Ally” workshop helping define ally-ship and highlight its importance.

“Ally Week is a tradition that began several years ago and one that has really taken off within Columbia Business School,” Annie Kurdziel, co-president of Cluster Q, said in statement. “It’s been amazing to see the Ally community come out to support, engage and learn from Cluster Q, and to see the intersectionality of how members of Cluster Q can be strong allies to other affinity groups.”

Another event during the week was a Cluster Q “CBS Matters,” a school-wide discussion in which Cluster Q members shared their personal stories.

“The events range from educational to purely fun, but the fundamental purpose of the week is to deepen ties and understanding between the LGBT and Ally communities,” Nic Perfetti, Cluster Q co-president, said in a statement.

CBS has been recognized for its efforts to be an inclusive community that supports its LGBT members, not only during Ally Week but year-round. Cluster Q is one of the largest, most diverse LGBT groups at a leading business school and also counts more straight allies than any other business school, CBS reports.

Columbia among the top scorers in 2015 Friendfactor Challenge
Columbia among the top scorers in 2015 Friendfactor Challenge

The school also came in a very close second in the 2015 Friendfactor Challenge, an annual competition between business schools to build the most LGBT-inclusive campuses, run by Reaching Out MBA. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management edged out CBS just slightly to take first place, but CBS matched or exceeded all other schools in three of the four categories evaluated—education programming, interaction with the broader LGBT community and LGBT on-campus policy.

“We believe that diversity strengthens any community and brings it greater success,” CBS Dean of Student Affairs Zelon Crawford said in a statement. “Here at Columbia Business School, we take that to heart and continue to find ways to further promote diversity. The events of Ally Week provide increased awareness, conversation and inclusion.”