Many colleges and universities in North America have begun to implement “Safe” programs on their campuses. Sometimes these programs are called “Safe Zone,” “Safe Space,” “Safe Harbor,” or “Safe On Campus.” The hallmark of these “Safe” programs is the public identification of allies by displaying the “Safe” logo, sticker, or sign on office and residence hall doors. Although it is unclear who first conceived of the “Safe” idea, the earliest we could find was the Ball State University program called “SAFE On Campus (Staff, Administration, and Faculty for Equality)” which was implemented during the 1992-1993 academic year. This program, initiated by the Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Student Association, included some of the components that we are using presently at Ramapo College.
The purpose of Safe Zone is to reduce homophobia and heterosexism on the Ramapo College campus, thereby making our campus a safer and freer environment for all members of our community regardless of sexual orientation. Safe Zone prepares members of the campus community, primarily faculty and staff, to serve as resources on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues and also strives to educate the campus community about the Safe Zone program. Our purpose is to offer a Safe Zone for all sexual minority people on our campus.
What it means to be a Safe Zone Ally
- Allies are open to questions from and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their issues. Additionally, allies also answer questions from students who are heterosexual and who are, for example, trying to learn more or questioning the presence of an LGBT person in their class, residence hall or family.
- Allies support policies that bring equity to otherwise inequitable situations and give open support for LGBT issues.
- Allies encourage others to become a part of Safe Zone. The more willing people are to talk about these issues with facts and openness, the safer our campus will become for LGBT people.
The Purpose of the Safe Zone Sticker
- The sticker helps to convey a message that the Safe Zone member is supportive, trustworthy and sensitive to the needs and concerns of LGBT people.
- The sticker indicates that homophobic and heterosexist comments and actions will not be tolerated silently, but instead will be addressed in an educational, informative and non-threatening manner.
Mary Anne Carletta
Alberta Tamika Quick
Linda Marie Konvit
Elmore Wilson Jr.
Angela M. Brockman