Photo by Cassandra Bauer
BY JESSICA LYNK
Rainbow Union, an organization that offers a safe place for LGBT students at Drake, has been facilitating Safe Space training for years.
“(Safe Space training sessions) have been totally student driven, student organized, student run, which is wonderful and we want to maintain some really strong aspects of that,” said Tony Tyler, director of student engagement, equity and inclusion.
But this year it is going to look a little different.
“A challenge that presents then is that students are busy … and we don’t want to rely on our students to make sure that this important thing is always happening. We want them to focus on other things, like school work and being involved,” Tyler said. “We said ‘Let’s make this a part of what the university does.’ This is one step in doing that. We still want students leading students to understand these things.”
Tyler, alongside Rainbow Union and One Voice, a group that advocates for the LGBT community, is planning a Safe Space facilitator training so that students can become certified in leading safe space dialogue.
The Safe Space facilitator training will take place this Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
The main goal of the event is to develop students’ understanding of what a Safe Space is.
They also want to discuss what a Safe Space looks like and help students develop their skills surrounding facilitating the space.
According to Safe Space Network, a Safe Space is a place where anyone can “be able to fully express, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation, age, or physical or mental ability.”
Tyler also mentioned that the event was a good way for students to connect with leaders of the LGBT community and not training in isolation.
From there, Tyler hopes this will spread to campus.
“The hope is that we will build this base of students that are prepared, if any student organization, any group, any floor of a residence hall, any class, it could be anyone who says ‘Hey we want to go through some safe space training,’” Tyler said.
The more people equipped to facilitate a Safe Space, the better the campus community, Tyler said.
“We know that when that happens, students development and learning happens in a better way,” Tyler said. “If we are in a community that is inclusive, and students are coming to safe space training and learning how to do that in very tangible ways, we know that the entire campus community gets better. And there whole purpose of being at college is more deeply fulfilled.”
Students, faculty and staff who are interested in attending the training can sign-up at