Group Makes UA Campus Welcoming
Safe Zone Allies had their next orientation session Oct. 15.
Safe Zone is a national organization dedicated to making sure all students feel welcome and accepted, regardless of their sexual orientation, said Brande Flack-Armstrong, associate director for Multicultural Educational Outreach Center for Multicultural and Diversity
“We believe in equality, equal services and equal rights for everyone,” said Viviana Pagán, program coordinator for Multicultural Educational Outreach Center for Multicultural and Diversity.
Every third Monday of the month, Pagán coordinates an orientation for UA faculty and staff members who are interested in becoming safe allies. Judd Harbin, associate dean, leads these orientation sessions, Pagán said. These sessions help train safe allies on how to provide safe conversation and resources to students who may come to them for help, Pagán said.
Following the orientation, safe allies post a rainbow hog outside their doors in order to show their support for gay, lesbian and bisexual students, Flack-Armstrong said. This hog serves as a comfort to students and also notifies them that they can seek counsel and support from those faculty members, Flack-Armstrong said.
“Safe allies are a network of people who are open to identifying themselves as accepting of the gay, lesbian, bisexual population,” Pagán said.
The more rainbow hogs students see around campus, the more students will see the university as a welcoming place, Flack-Armstrong said. Even if some do not choose to use the facility as a resource, this sign of support will mean a great deal and help make sure everyone feels welcome here, Flack-Armstrong said.
Hershel Hartford, administrative support supervisor in the department of communication became a safe ally when he was the Episcopal chaplain at UA.
“It is important for people to have an understanding that there are people out there that they can talk to about issues,” Hartford said.
People need to be able to express themselves openly, he said.