Central Oregon Community College has implemented the use of Safe Zones for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community who attend COCC or OSU-Cascades. However, those unfamiliar with the safe zone program may have curiosities as to why there are certain faculty/staff who have the Safe Zone symbol posted on their office door.
The safe zone program originated in 2012, and is overseen by COCC’s multicultural activities director, Karen Roth.
Roth brought up issues that are experienced LGBTQ community members: unwillingness to ‘come out’ publicly, lack of support resources, and acts of disrespect or violence.
“The Safe Zone trainings were initiated by the Diversity Committee, and are designed to let the LGBTQ community here on campus know there are people to talk with,” Roth said.
Accurate statistics regarding how many members of the LGBTQ community utilize the Safe Zone Program are difficult to obtain due to the confidential nature of the program.
Jennifer Cruickshank, a COCC Instructor and Safe Zone Volunteer, said, “The reason I volunteered was to help create a safe and positive environment for the student population. I thought I had a good understanding on diversity, but I learned far more going through the training.”
She expressed, “I have a student come to my office at least once a month because they’ve seen my Safe Zone symbol outside my office, or Safe Zone information in my syllabus.”
Students who are looking to get involved with the program or would simply like to know a little more about how you can support the LGBTQ community can visit the LGBTQ programs link located on the Multicultural Activities page of the COCC website [https://www.cocc.edu/multicultural/lgbtq-programs/].
Also Multicultural Activities Director Karen Roth is available to those seeking to be trained, in the Coats Campus Center at COCC.
Jose Alvarez | The Broadside