by Andrew Salman, 2014 Campus Pride Summer Fellow, Western Kentucky University
Safe Zone Training (also often referred to as Safe Space) can be an important first step and ongoing process toward improving campus climate for LGBTQ students. Safe Zone Trainings help teach faculty, staff, and sometimes student leaders how to create safe spaces and how to act as allies for LGBTQ students. Assessment results from two different institutions (Iowa State University and Duke University) show that their individual programs increased visibility, improved the environment, increased conversations, and increased the comfort level of the participants in the program (Evans, 2002; Poynter & Lewis, 2003).
Planning a training for your school’s faculty and staff may seem like a daunting task but you don’t have to recreate the wheel. Many campuses have Safe Zone trainings. Campus Pride can help you assess you campus needs and create a Safe Zone training based on your unique challenges and campus climate. There is currently no standardized training manual for institutions of higher education, meaning each school’s training is uniquely tailored to that school and its needs. Please Note: Campus Pride is currently working on a resource guide with a national Safe Zone program to share with campuses who wish to have a standardized logo, curriculum and format for training. The guide will be available in Spring 2015.
Here are some resources that may help you or your committee develop a Safe Zone training for your school. Take your time researching what other campuses are doing and finding what would work on your campus. Campus Pride also encourages you to use the LGBTQ Architect to find model Safe Zone programs.
The Importance of Safe Zone
How To Establish a Safe Zone Program
Model Safe Zone Guide from North Dakota State University
Information, Terms, and Definitions to Use:
Example Safe Zone Logos:
There is no standardized Safe Zone logo for colleges and universities, but many use recognizable LGBTQ symbols, such as the inverted triangle, pink color palettes, and rainbow motifs. It may be helpful to include details pertaining specifically to transgender identities in your logo if your training highlights them as well. These stickers and logos help students identify who has completed Safe Zone training and is a safe authority figure to talk to about issues involving their LGBTQ identity and campus climate.
Evans, N. (2002) The impact of an LGBT safe zone project on campus climate. Journal of College Student Development, 43, 522-539.
Poynter, K. & Lewis, E. (2003) SAFE on campus assessment report. Durham, NC: Duke University, Center for LGBT Life.