A team of University of La Verne faculty members is seeking to make the campus a safe place for LGBTQ people by offering training workshops to those interested in learning about the issues they face.
The Safe Zone training workshops are periodically scheduled throughout the year and address the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people; privilege and microaggression; how to create a safe space; the process of coming out; religion and sexual identity; and resources for LGBTQ people.
Any student, staff, faculty or administrator can take part in the workshops.
“Sometimes it is challenging for those who aren’t identified as LGBTQ to be supportive or understand what the LGBTQ individual might be going through,” said Andy Steck, assistant professor of education. “This workshop provides education to learn more about how to assist LGBTQ individuals if necessary.”
Steck is one of four professors who are involved in managing the workshops. John Bartelt, professor of education; Kathy Duncan, professor of management; and Laurie Schroeder, professor of education, are also part of the team.
Bartelt said the workshops are important to the community because the University was built on social justice and human rights.
The University wants to continue to provide safe spaces and support for any individual who experiences discrimination or harassment.
By addressing LGBTQ issues, the team also hopes to also educate people about other issues including racial, cultural and sexual oppression.
“There’s just a long history of marginalization of somebody – whether it’s folks of color, women or LGBTQ people,” Bartelt said. “It seems like these days the most recent one is the LGBTQ community.”
The Safe Zone training workshops were first introduced to the University more than 10 years ago by former Professor of Psychology Raymond Scott.
The program was put on hold after Scott left the University until the president of the Gay Straight Alliance club, then called Rainbow Alliance, brought concerns to a team of faculty members.
In response to the concerns, the University brought back the workshops and adopted more gender neutral application and restrooms.
Now the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity is in charge of the workshops. However, because Chief Diversity and Inclusivity Officer Joy Lei is temporarily on leave, the team of faculty members decided to take control again.
“The three or four of us who initially were kind of carrying the ball have picked it up again and said, ‘We’ll carry this until the office can carry it again,’” Bartelt said.
The resident assistants have also received Safe Zone training and have implemented some lessons into their activities and programs.
“As staff and student leaders, we go through safe zone training for our benefit and education as human beings,” sophomore art major Dynasty Nakatani said. “Our job as RAs is to make residents feel welcomed, comfortable and safe.”
The next Safe Zone training workshop will be March 31.
For more information, contact Bartelt at email@example.com.
Emily Lau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.