Spectrum sponsors “Safe Zone” workshops

Justin Law

Spectrum, the gay-straight alliance on campus, will be sponsoring the “Safe Zone” workshop on Saturday with help from SGA.

The workshop is designed to help educate students on the Gay  Lesbian Bisexual Transexual (GLBT) community and ways of helping those students feel safe on campus.

“This is definitely a social justice issue,” said Stephanie Young, advisor to Spectrum. “There is this concern that needs to be addressed….We’re trying to create an environment from the ground up.”

Young said raising awareness and giving students resources are some of the major goals with the training. She hopes this helps students who may not be very knowledgeable about the GLBT community.

One of the goals of Spectrum on campus is to get students involved who are straight and either want information about the issue or want to support in some way.

“I’m also hoping that people who are not really sure how they feel about this issue show up,” said Jazmyn Gideon, president of Spectrum. “It’s [Spectrum] not just a club for gay people.”

Gideon said the training would also be helpful for resident assistants looking to be able to better help residents.

Both Young and Gideon said they have received lots of positive feedback from both students and faculty. A faculty-training program will be taking place in the spring.

“I want to be more able to deal with problems the GLBT community faces in the future,” said Elliot Howard, Spectrum member. “I hope this program will open people’s minds. I hope it increases tolerance on campus.”

The training will include topics such as how to become a straight ally, issues of bullying and harassment, understanding the concepts of gender identity and other related subjects.

Only 75 slots were available for the training, and all 75 have been filled. Young said advertisements were posted around campus, but the majority of people probably heard about it by word of mouth.

Young also said the recent reports of suicides in the news may have made people think about the effects of bullying on USI’s campus, and feel the need to help.

Even though all the slots are filled, Gideon said there are still several ways for students to help. The major step is to become knowledgeable about the topic. Students can also attend Spectrum or other human rights-based groups.

“If you can’t come, try to get informed,” said Gideon.