The University of Toledo is offering a new approach to the Safe Place Training program, created by the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS) and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
A Safe Place is anywhere the LGBTQA+ community can expect to feel welcome on campus.
This training has been available for staff and faculty in previous years through lecture-style. However, the new technique aims to make the training more interactive.
The Safe Place Training program was also offered last spring. It has since been reorganized to be more interactive and engaging, said Michele Soliz, assistant vice president Student Success and Inclusion Division of Student Affairs.
The program was also vetted by several LGBTQA+ students, faculty and staff for additional feedback, she said.
“Safe Place participants are provided the education needed to have respectful, supportive and affirming conversations with LGBTQ students,” said Danielle Stamper, interim program coordinator for OMSS. “The participants are encouraged to point students towards resources on campus and in the community for specific issues.”
According to Stamper, those who complete this training will be able to understand LGBTQA+ terminology, how to recognize and discuss related issues, learn what it means to be a LGBTQ+ ally and be able to identify international, national, state, local and UT resources.
“I think you should utilize all the tools you have available because some people of the community feel alone,” said Edrick Matthews, sophomore communication major and UT football player. “This makes it easier because you have someone to go to.”
Stamper said Safe Place stickers are placed on the offices of trained staff and faculty to alert students that it’s a confidential place where they can be their authentic self.
According to the OMSS Success website, there are various safe place locations across the university along with faculty, staff and graduate assistants who “have signed the Safe Place pledge to act as allies for the LGBTQA+ community.”
“We would love for all faculty and staff to participate in the training and sign the Safe Place pledge if they want to,” she said. “We are going to have contact with LGBTQ students and having a baseline of knowledge can improve those interactions.”
For those who wish to register, deadline is one week before each session and can be completed online at the OMSS website. Safe Place Training is held Tuesday mornings during the fall semester from 9 a.m. to noon.