About Safe Space

What is Safe Space?
Safe Space Programs have been established at various universities throughout the country. The GLBTQ decal signifies the displayer’s willingness to be supportive of GLBTQ people. The intended message of the symbol is that the person displaying this decal is one who will be non-judgmental, understanding and trustworthy should anyone need help, advice or conversation.

 

What is the GLBTQ Safe Space Program?
The GLBTQ Safe Space Program identifies individuals and offices at Montclair State University that have attended a Safe Space session. Such offices are identified with a decal. The decal has a green circle with two triangles in the center, one pink and one black. It reads GLBTQ Safe Space. Some of the people who display the decal identify with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community, while others are supportive of individuals.

 

Why might someone seek out a Safe Space?
GLBTQ people may face instances of homophobic harassment on campus or in their communities and may wish to speak with a supportive person about this. GLBTQ people may be confused about sexual orientation or identity, or just want to speak to someone about life issues they face due to their sexual and affectional orientation. GLBTQ people may have fears about coming out and wish to speak with someone about those concerns. Individuals may not have accurate information about the GLBTQ communities or any role models that meet their needs. The basic assumption of the program is a belief that people can be resources for each other.

 

What might I expect if I visit a Safe Space?
The most important thing is that you will encounter a person you can talk to who is non-judgmental, understanding and trustworthy. Good listening and support can be expected. The creation of a sense of safety can contribute to a sharing of feelings and learning about GLBTQ people. Your discussion will be confidential. If you’re speaking about a problem you’ve encountered at Montclair State University you can expect a person in a Safe Space to help you find out what to do about that problem. If needed, you can obtain names of resources on campus and in the community for emotional support, legal advice, health services and social contact, and information about organizations in the GLBTQ community.

 

What should I not expect if I visit a Safe Space?
The individuals whose office you are visiting will not be your counselor. There will be no pressure to take action or change your life or lifestyle. There will just be support.

 

How was the GLBT Safe Space Program started?
The GLBTQ Safe Space Program was established at Montclair State University in 1997 and was originally sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Faculty and Staff Association of Montclair State University (GLFSA), Health Promotion, and the Student Development and Campus Life Division of the Office of the Dean of Students. It was announced to the campus community on National Coming Out Day and its existence has been publicized through campus publications and the Office of Student Services. In addition to providing support to GLBTQ people on campus, this program also educated the campus about the problems of homophobic harassment and the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people for support and inclusion.

The program is currently sponsored by the Office of Health Promotion and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center.

 

What is the meaning of the symbols on the decal?
During the holocaust, pink triangles were used by the Nazis to label gay men and black triangles were used to label lesbians and other "anti-socials.” These symbols have been adopted as symbols of identity, pride and self-esteem for the gay and lesbian community. The area bisected these triangles represents the diversity of sexual "minorities" which includes bisexuals. The interconnectedness of human sexuality is thereby represented. The green circle, the opposite of the familiar red circle with a slash, signifies the displayer’s willingness to be supportive to GLBTQ people. It also represents the inclusion of straight allies of these communities.

 

STATEMENTS:

Human Relations Statement on Campus Climate for Civility and Human Dignity
Student Handbook
“Montclair State University recognizes its responsibility to foster an atmosphere of respect understanding and goodwill among all individuals and groups, with special sensitivity to those most likely to be subjected to disrespect, abuse and misunderstanding because of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disabling condition. The goal is to create an unbiased community where all individuals feel free to express themselves in ways that are appropriate in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society, and to pursue their work and study in an atmosphere which values diversity.” 

Montclair State University Statement on Equal Opportunity for Students
President's Statement on Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, Sexual Harassment, and Tolerance
“Montclair State University is committed to the principle of student access to campus benefits and services (including, but not limited to, admission, residence life, financial aid, athletics, course offerings, scholarships, student employment, social and recreational programs) without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, gender, age, affectional or sexual orientation, or disabilities (not interfering with academic performance).”

Policy on Sexual Harassment
Student Handbook
“Sexual Harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual conduct, whether the behavior is verbal or physical in nature, regardless of the peer, supervisory, or other relationship between the parties, and regardless of whether the manifestation of the harassment is requests for sexual favors, sexist remarks, or behaviors that denigrates a person because of the person’s sex or sexual orientation. The Board of Trustees reaffirms its commitment to assure that the University environment will be free of sexual harassment...and that all steps be taken in accordance with State and Federal laws contact the Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life, 655-4311.”

 


GLBT Safe Space logo printed with permission form Donnelly-Colt, Hampton, CT
Text adapted with permission of the University of New Hampshire Safe Zone Program.