Students at Tennessee Tech University are creating safe spaces for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning people on campus.
Project Safe Haven will launch at the TTU Women’s Center at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, during National Ally Week.
“Project Safe Haven is meant to develop a network of departments and offices where any student, LGBTQ or otherwise, is free to come in without any fear of judgment,” said senior sociology major Justin Sweatman-Weaver. “They can come take a breather, and they will have access to physical resources like phone numbers and other organizations that can help them.”
Student members of Lambda, TTU’s gay-straight alliance, are starting the project by reaching out to offices and people on campus. They are also compiling a photo project of allies, people who want to help end bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation, to display on Facebook.
The Women’s Center volunteered to be the first safe haven, and it will host an open house about the project from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 17.
“This school has a great anti-discrimination policy, but not everyone on campus is equipped to deal with students who have these kinds of questions,” said Diana Lalani, secretary at the Women’s Center. “We want to give them the resources to help.”
Campus safe havens will have a collection of fliers and other resources for students looking for help. Personnel who volunteer their offices as safe havens have to sign a pledge that they will try to create a support system for students grappling with their sexuality. They are not trained counselors, and they will refer students seeking detailed guidance to TTU’s Counseling Center.