CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Citadel, South Carolina’s military training college, has announced the creation of its new Safe Zone program, originally launched in the 2012-2013 school year. The program, birthed in part by the creation of the Citadel’s first Gay-Straight Alliance in October 2012, is an effort to promote safety on its campus for its cadets, faculty and staff, including members of the LGBT community.
The Safe Zone programming includes workshops that increase the awareness of the challenges facing LGBT people, provide participants language and skills they need to provide support, and a webpage to offer resources and information to The Citadel campus, the college said.
The optional workshops give members of The Citadel community tools to be LGBT allies. “The webpage makes these allies visible,” said Jen Bennett, a graduate of The Citadel’s Clinical Counseling program and board member of South Carolina Equality. “Knowing this safety net exists and that it’s accessible to students is extremely comforting.”
The new webpage includes contact information of faculty and staff members who are Safe Zone trained. This allows students and others to anonymously search for on-campus support.
The Safe Zone programming incorporates cultural competencies for LGBT communities within the framework of The Citadel’s Core Values: Honor, Duty and Respect. In the College Regulations the explanation of “Respect” includes: “Respect for others eliminates any form of prejudice, discrimination, or harassment (including but not limited to rank, position, age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, physical attributes, etc.).”
More than 80 people have received Safe Zone training at The Citadel in 2013. Because of requests from the campus community, additional workshops will be held in the coming months.
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