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Creating Space for All

the words "safe zone"
March 31, 2016

UMD is hosting Safe Space training on Wednesday, April 13.

UMD is hosting Safe Space training on Wednesday, April 13 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Griggs, room 201 of the Kirby Student Center, 1120 Kirby Drive.

A Safe Space is an area easily recognized as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) friendly.

The training will be facilitated by UMD’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. It’s designed to teach faculty and staff how to offer an environment where UMD’s LGBTQ students feel completely secure.

“If you’re having an issue, a Safe Space says you can come to this spot and whoever is here will do what they can to help you,” explains Erin Olson, the GLBT Services Student Support Advisor.

Safe Spaces are identified with a recognizable sign that’s loaded with meaning, like the pink triangle once used by the Nazis but now embraced by the gay community.

“With the signs, students know that they have some place to go. They’ll feel more supported, which is really the only reason any of us are here,” says Olson.

As part of its strategic plan, UMD has been striving to create a more positive and inclusive campus. It recently began offering gender-inclusive bathrooms, gender-neutral housing, and a LGBTQ minor. Olson says the Safe Space training continues these efforts, “We need to reassure people that UMD has a supportive community for queer people. We actually have a really strong community.”