Have you seen Safe Zone signs popping up around campus and wonder what they are? These placards signify that the employee has attended a Safe Zone workshop and pledged to be an ally to the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex) community by standing up against homophobia and heterosexism.
It is a visual representation that the employee is committed to creating a more inclusive environment for our LGBTQI students, staff and faculty. Last year, Safe Zone, which was built upon the College’s previous Allies program, debuted at Valencia — adding us to the ranks of hundreds of other colleges around the country. To date, 70 people have attended a workshop.
Since then, we’ve received multiple requests for more workshops, topics that can be offered with varied scheduling. Because of this, Safe Zone will be expanding this year to a certificate program, comprised of a three-part, sequential professional development series involving:
Safe Zone: Foundation – an online course geared toward basic awareness-building of history, terminology and myths regarding the LGBTQI community
Safe Zone: Understanding – an in-person workshop focusing on understanding the LGBTQI community and its unique challenges/experiences, especially its impact in educational settings
Safe Zone: Allies – an in-person workshop for those interested in gaining tools and resources to become an official Safe Zone Ally
This new structure will allow more space for those who may want to expand their understanding of the LGBTQI community but may not have the time or commitment level to be a certified ally. Those who became allies last year will be able to keep their ally placard but are welcome to participate in any of the sessions as a refresher.
The online course, “Safe Zone: Foundation” will launch in late fall, followed by the two classroom workshops, “Safe Zone: Understanding” and “Safe Zone: Allies” this coming spring. Read The Juice employee newsletter for details.
Safe Zone is facilitated by Remy Ansiello, counselor; Elvin Cruz-Vargas, student services advisor; Liz Jusino, coordinator, career program advisor; and Rachel Luce-Hitt, coordinator, diversity and inclusion.
For questions, contact Rachel Luce-Hitt at email@example.com or extension 8081.