Saint Louis University

Safe Zone Frequently Asked Questions




Why have a Safe Zone program? 

Homosexuality is an invisible diversity, both in its members and its supporters. The Safe Zone program helps to create a more accepting atmosphere on campus by providing visual statements of support and safe space. Many universities from Boston College, NYU, Georgetown, and Duke to Washington University, University of Illinois, and University of Missouri have already implemented similar programs.

To see a partial list of other schools with a Safe Zone program visit the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) website.

Is Safe Zone appropriate at a Jesuit university?

Yes. Students are educated at Saint Louis University in the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, the care of the whole person. Briefly stated, the mission of University is "the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity." We, as the university community, prepare to become global citizens by creating a university community that welcomes people from all backgrounds and encourages dialogue between groups to promote understanding and inclusion.

Programs like Safe Zone help to increase awareness and support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community on campus while also starting this dialogue.  Many Jesuit Universities have Safe Zone programs, including Georgetown University, Santa Clara University, University of San Francisco, Boston College and Loyola University Chicago.  The Safe Zone program at Saint Louis University was developed with input and support from campus stakeholders.

In addition, approximately 4% of U.S. the population is part of the LGBTQ community.  This means that LGBTQ students are present on every college campus, many of whom are in various stages of identity development and are in need of support regardless of the school's affiliation.

Who can be a Safe Zone member? What is the time commitment?
Members must attend one 3-hour training session. Membership is open to all members of the university community. After the initial training session, participation in other events on campus is voluntary.

Can gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people be Safe Zone members?
Yes. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people are not excluded from being members. Training is geared toward heterosexual allies, but all are welcome to attend training and further their education, understanding, and awareness around LGBTQ issues.

Why should we have a sign showing support for only LGBTQ persons?
The reality is not all people on campus are supportive, knowledgeable and understanding of LGBTQ people. While the Oath of Inclusion recognizes our diverse and vibrant community, it is important for LGBTQ persons to be affirmed regardless of their social identity.  Safe Zone members commit to furthering their own education and awareness about the LGBTQ community, and acting as a support for this community on the Saint Louis University campus.

What about the people on campus who don't become Safe Zone members?
The intention is not to make those who do not participate in the Safe Zone program look bad, it is to show support and affirmation on campus as we work to build a more inclusive campus community. Participation in the Safe Zone program is voluntary and no one will be pressured to become a member. In fact, it is likely that there are a number of allies on campus that are are not able to be trained through Safe Zone for various reasons.

What if I just want to show support, I don't have time to provide ongoing counseling?
Safe Zone members are not expected to be "experts" or counselors. One of the reasons we require attendance at the training session is to provide knowledge about how and where to refer someone to a counselor or other resources on campus.


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