Safe Zone at The New School: Creating Safe Spaces for the LGBTQI Community

Safe Zone training at The New School was already in the final planning stages when the news about the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student, and other gay teens who had been the victims of harassment and bullying made the headlines.

Student Services took the lead on forming a working group of students, faculty, and staff across the university who are committed to raising awareness about the LGBTQI community and to offer Safe Zone training sessions. Over 50 students, faculty and staff attended the first training session on Friday, October 15, led by Jhon Velsaco, director of the Center for Non-Violence and Peace Initiatives at Montclair State College, and a certified Safe Zone trainer.

Safe Zone is a place where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex students, faculty, and staff can feel safe, supported, and understood. Anyone displaying the Safe Zone sticker has taken the training and has pledged to be positive, supportive, and LGBTQI-affirming.

There was a positive and uplifting energy in the room. It was a gathering of students, administrators, and faculty with a passion for social justice, and a common goal to create a more inclusive, safe environment at The New School,, said Tracy Robin, assistant vice president for Student Health and Support. It was a real success, and an important step in clearly identifying safe spaces for anyone in our community who identifies as LGBQI.,

Safe Zone training sessions will continue throughout the academic year. For more information or to register for a training session, email safezone@newschool.edu.