Safe zone training begins at Southern

Administrators at Missouri Southern are currently working with Equality Alliance, a student organization on campus, to create a training program for faculty and staff that would help jumpstart campus “safe zones” where students can discuss any concerns and issues they may have.

“Safe zone is a movement across the country to create areas on campus where students, predominantly students that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, that they have advocates or allies that they can go to and talk to — not necessarily about their lifestyle, but about anything in general,” said Darren Fullerton, vice president of student affairs.

The safe zone training will kick off at 1:30 pm Sept. 21 in the Health Sciences Building, room 167, where Candice Moran, a clinical psychologist with the University of Central Missouri, will be giving a live web presentation.

“This is not a major certification, that someone has to study for, these are things where we’re just trying to educate our faculty how to better allies for our students.”

MoRan, who serves as the coordinator of a similar program at UCM, will assist Southern only during the initial training, says Fullerton.

“The goal is to train individuals here in the basics, and then we will be able to train ourselves,” said Fullerton. “We want to work with the campus to stop intolerance and any prejudice that there may be and to educate students. Really, the primary factor is just to make sure that all of our students feel comfortable and feel like they have people on campus that they can approach and talk to about any issues they may be having.”

In an attempt to avoid any negative perception individuals may have of faculty members who have yet to go through the training program once it begins, Fullerton would like to remind people that this is a process that could take some time.

“We do want to be careful with the training that there’s not a perception there that just because someone has not had a chance to do the training, that they’re intolerant,” said Fullerton. “There will be a long period of time before everyone on campus is trained.”