What is a Gator Safe Zone?
The Safe Zone Program at Allegheny College consists of three primary opportunities to engage in discussion with members of the Allegheny community. Based on recommendations from a recent campus climate survey led by Rankin and Associates (2009), a three track Safe Zone program has been designed to allow individuals to gain valuable resources and knowledge over time while creating supportive networks for all identities across our campus. After completing levels one and two, a total of six hours of training, participants are eligible to select to be a member of Gator Safe Zone and receive a Gator Safe Zone Ally card to display.
What is a Gator Safe Zone Ally?
An ally is an individual who works to end oppression personally and professionally through support and advocacy of an oppressed population, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. Allies may be prompted to action because they are alarmed at the pervasive negative attitudes towards LGBTQ people in a heterosexist and gendered society. Although the term ally is most often used to refer to heterosexual allies, we include LGBTQ individuals who actively support the needs of their community in our definition of a Gator Safe Zone ally.
Track 1 – Developing a Common Understanding
This two-hour session focuses on understanding key terms and the impact of language as they relate to gender, sexuality, and individual identities. This first track helps participants clarify their own attitudes and beliefs about homophobia & transphobia while also identifying examples of heterosexism & privilege. This track aims to assist participants in understanding how the stated objectives relate to your own role on campus. Individuals who participate in track one have the option to continue to track two and are provided with an introduction guide for ongoing reference and to continue building their knowledge. Register for Track 1 here
Track 2 – Ally Development & Skill-Building
Track two is a four-hour session with a 15 minute break and includes an accompanying resource guide to reference discussions from the session, provide suggestions for continued learning, and offer potential resources for one’s role as an ally. During the session, participants will review history related to LGBTQ communities and movements, explore theoretical models of LGBQ identity development as well as the development of allies and hear the perspectives of allies and members of the Allegheny LGBQ community via a guest panel. Participants have the opportunity to practice and explore their own skills as an ally to LGBTQ communities. At the end of this session, participants may select to become Safe Zone members and receive a Gator Safe Zone card posted with the date of the member’s completion of track two. Register for Track 2 here
Track 3 – Dialogues
The third track consists of a series of one-hour conversations exploring the complex web of oppression on individual, institutional, and systemic levels in the United States. These sessions are facilitated by members of the Allegheny community as well as individuals invested in working for equity and justice regionally and nationally.
Updating your Gator Safe Zone Card
As the 3-track model is rolled out at Allegheny, Safe Zone members trained through previous models can select to have their Gator Safe Zone card updated by attending a track 1 and track 2 session. After completing track 2, the card is then stamped with a date. All recipients of the Gator Safe Zone card via the 3-track model will also receive a dated Gator Safe Zone Ally card upon selecting to be a Gator Safe Zone member after their 6th hour of training. All members can choose to attend future sessions to update their card and receive additional dated stamps indicating their ongoing training and investment in the discussion of issues and experiences related to gender and sexuality.