Santa Clara University

Office for Multicultural Learning

Safe Space Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose?

Helping LGBTQ students feel more welcome and safe at SCU.
Showing acceptance and willingness to provide assistance (e.g. directing students to available resources).
Learning to be effective allies of one another: allies in our differences and in our similarities.
Breaking down stereotypes that prevent people from realizing the dignity and humanity of every member of the community.

What are the responsibilities?

Willingness to listen and respect confidentiality.
Willingness to send students to the resources listed.
Speaking out against any kind of violence or harrassment.

What are the benefits?

The opportunity to interact and learn from one another in our diverse community.
Making a difference (even if you don't know or notice).
Making a personal contribution to improving the environment of campus and the lives of its members.
Expanding your "comfort zone" to include issues of sexuality, sexual difference, and sexual injustice.
We as a community -- straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning -- will learn to respect and ultimately love one another by working together to create a safe space of respect and dignity.

What can I expect?

Students may be more at ease with you.
Students may censor themselves less in your office, resulting in a more genuine exchange.
Students may not behave differently, but will feel more welcome and secure.

How can I get a sticker?

Send an email to the Office for Multicultural Learning.

What does it mean if someone does not display the sticker?

Nothing, really. There are many reasons why someone might not display the sticker. Some people will not support the project. Some people will, but choose not to display the sticker. Most people support causes for which they do not have a bumper sticker. (The stickers are intended for offices, not for bumpers).

What is the origin of the rainbow flag on the sticker?  

In 1978, Gilbert Baker of San Francisco designed and made a flag with six stripes representing the six colors of the rainbow as a symbol of gay and lesbian community pride. While this flag began in San Francisco, today it can be seen all over the world as a sign of pride and community.

Why is this particular group being singled out?

The university is already doing a good job of showing welcome and support for people of different ethnic groups, genders and religions through the core curriculum. LGBTQ students are a group that suffers from invisibility, both of its members and its supporters. With this sticker project, we hope to increase visibility of support.

What does it mean to be a supporting office?

This means that the office supports the Safe Space project and its goals. The goals are simply to welcome and respect LGBTQ students. It also means that members of the office are willing to send LGBTQ students to the resources listed at this website. It does not mean that everyone in the office necessarily is a gay rights advocate.

What should I do if a student comes out in my office?

At other campuses with similar safe space projects, this is not happening frequently. However, if it does happen, listen and point the student to the resources listed.