Fort Lewis College’s equal opportunity policy clearly indicates that the college “does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political beliefs, or veteran status.” In light of this anti-discrimination statement, and in response to sexual orientation hate speech discovered on campus, particularly during Fall 2010, the Safe Zone Program was initiated in Winter 2011. The Safe Zone Program provides training and support to Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender [LGBT] and LGBT-affirmative faculty, staff, administrators, and students who desire education on such matters, to raise awareness within the community, and to provide support and resources for those individuals in need of a safe place to talk and get information regarding any issues they are confronting or discrimination they may have faced. Since the acronym for the community as a whole has grown over the past years into LGBTTIQQ2AA (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Transsexual/Intersexual/Queer/Questioning/Two-Spirit/Asexual/Androgynous), we have decided to shorten it to LGBT; however, all mentions of said acronym LGBT = LGBTTIQQ2AA.
The Safe Zone Project will address many concerns, issues, misunderstandings, and lack of information. There is a need for more discussion about the homophobia, hate speech, and diversity issues/concerns on many levels present on the Fort Lewis College Campus. A place of higher education should be a place where everyone feels comfortable being themselves (regardless of personal identity). The campus has a responsibility to provide its students with a comfortable learning environment irrespective of their differences. Through programs like Safe Zone, we can make the Fort Lewis College Campus a more supportive and comfortable environment for all people.
[adapted from MSUD (as adapted from Rainbow Center, UCONN)]