Safe Zone Program
The Lock Haven University Safe Zone program is designed to provide students with a safe and welcoming environment on campus. This is done by helping to develop allies on campus. An ally is a member of the dominant group who joins with members of an oppressed group to fight for and work toward equality. Most people develop an ally identity over time; a four step model is used to explain this process - awareness, knowledge, skills, and action. Those people who are ready may go through training to become Safe Zone Allies.
The Safe Zone Program focuses on increasing allies' skills and willingness to act. In ally development generally, the skills step is teaching people the skills necessary to communicate their knowledge to others. This may be educational communication to various constituencies, but it is also the skills to communicate with LGBTQ students who may be in crisis and need resources that we can provide.
The final step in ally development is action. Although the Safe Zone program will include discussions of action in the training workshop, action is something that is inherently individual. The ally must choose to perform some behavior. People with awareness, knowledge, and skills that do not act are not allies. In fact, action is vital for allies to the LGBTQ communities because of the strong pressure LGBTQ people still face to hide their true identities. It is the actions of allies that help develop an environment in which those who identify with the LGBTQ communities can feel safe.
Visibility of LGBTQ allies and their work is an important part of this process. Therefore, all Safe Zone allies attend at least one LGBTQ related program per semester, or faculty can integrate LGBTQ material into their classroom. This will help encourage action, increase the equality of campus climate, and allow allies to continue to grow in knowledge.
You can generally recognize Safe Zone Allies by the logo that is on their door, bulletin board, or desk.