Gender & Sexuality Services

Safe Zone Ally

 

Safe Zone Allies

What is the Safe Zone Ally program?

The Safe Zone Ally program at the University of Northern Iowa is a campus wide opportunity designed to identify and train community members interested in supporting the continued growth of an inclusive campus community. This program supports the university's value of cultivating a caring and diverse campus community that values respect for all people, the open and free exchange of ideas, and responsible and ethical behavior. This program is not an LGBTQ+ 101 training, but instead an opportunity for those interested in supporting our community to learn more about how they can do so at UNI.

This program is offered in two phases, both of which must be taken in-person to be recognized as a Safe Zone Ally. Phase One is an in-person, 1.5 hour long training that provides basic knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community, establishes a common vocabulary for participant use and explores the importance of practicing allyship to the LGBTQ+ community at the University of Northern Iowa. Phase Two is also an in-person training. However, this portion is scheduled for two hours, providing a deeper exploration of privilege and intersectionality, as well as challenging participants to think critically about their roles as allies. After participating in both phases, participants are given the opportunity to become Safe Zone Allies by signing an ally agreement stating their confidence in their ability to practice allyship in a knowledgeable, responsible, and committed manner. Safe Zone Allies are invited to register to be listed as a resource for UNI students on the Out & Ally List.

What does a Safe Zone Ally do? 

Allies are people holding dominant identities who are recognized by members of marginalized communities for their actions against both personal and structural bias and discrimination. We believe that no one can self-identify as an ally and that focus should instead be on practicing allyship. Safe Zone Allies serve as information resources and offer a safe space for LGBTQ+ students. Safe Zone Allies actively look for ways to integrate the LGBTQ+ community into campus activities and advocate for inclusion in their workplaces, personal spaces, and out in the greater community. Safe Zone Allies also commit to continuously evaluate themselves and their social positions, and commit to educating themselves on current issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. Those who participate in our training are challenged to craft a statement of personal commitment to inclusion and justice for the LGBTQ+ community. As an option, active Safe Zone Ally participants can register to be on the Out & Ally Network as a resource for students.

How can I sign up for training?

To individually participate in Safe Zone Ally, please complete this webform. Spring 2020 dates include:

Tuesday, February 4th, 12:30 - 4:30 PM (Rod Library Scholarspace) 
Sunday, February 23rd, 12:30 - 4:30 PM (Rod Library Scholarspace)
Friday, March 6th, 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM (CME 109P)
Thursday, April 2nd, 12:30 - 4:30 PM (CME 109P) - will be hosted online via Zoom during this time period. Please plan to be virtually present during the full four hours.

Since we offer opportunities to participate in Safe Zone Ally training on a regular basis to the public, Safe Zone Ally training is not available on a request basis. Practicing allyship is a personal commitment that we expect participants to make independently. We do have other educational opportunities available outside of Safe Zone Ally training. If you are interested in hosting an LGBTQ+ workshop or presentation for your UNI class, office, department, organization, etc. please use this webform to submit a No Class Cancelled request for an educational session.

For off-campus requests, please e-mail our coordinator directly at emily.harsch@uni.edu.

I can't make the training times for this semester/I need to come late or leave early. Can you offer a different time or make an exception?

Safe Zone Ally training is offered on a monthly at various times and dates are announced at the beginning of each semester. If you would like us to consider offering the training at a certain time in the upcoming semester, please let us know by the end of the current semester. We do expect those who would like to recognized as part of the Safe Zone Ally program with a placard and/or designation on the Out & Ally Network to attend the training in its entirety. Arriving early or leaving late is disruptive to our trainers and participants who are committed to the program. We ask that employees and students give adequate notice to their supervisors and professors to be allowed to attend this training. UNI supervisors or professors with questions can contact our office at lgbt@uni.edu for more information or participation verification as needed.

I already took the training. Can I get a new placard?

Part of practicing allyship is staying connected with the LGBTQ+ community and challenging yourself to learn and grow. We only give out our Safe Zone Ally placards to those who have completed both Phase One and Phase Two as a way to identify those committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community at UNI. If you took the training prior to Fall 2019, we encourage you to take both Phase One and Two to get recertified. We encourage our Safe Zone Allies to retake the training at least every other year to stay connected and informed.

I would like to participate in this program and have a request for a disability accommodation. Who do I contact?

We encourage individuals with disabilities to participate in the Safe Zone Ally training. If you are a person with a disability with a request for accommodation, please include your request in your registration and/or let us know at least a week in advance how we can work together to ensure your equal participation. Examples may include receiving transcripts of videos, larger size text on print outs, or receiving specific trigger warnings. Feel free to contact us at lgbt@uni.edu for more specific clarification.