Safe Space

The Office of LGBTQ Student Life Safe Space program fosters an inclusive environment that challenges oppression and provides support for LGBTQ students. Safe Space educates the University of Chicago community on the challenges that many LGBTQ students experience by developing an ally network and creating welcoming physical spaces for the UChicago LGBTQ community.

Surveys indicate that LGBTQ students who do not feel safe are likely to skip class, or even days of classes, out of fear for personal safety. Students who can identify a supportive community member are more likely to feel a sense of belonging at their school than those who cannot. The Safe Space program increases the visible presence of student and adult allies who can help to shape the University’s culture that is accepting of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or any other difference. This is particularly important for closeted students (those students who have not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity) as it gives them an opportunity to identify individuals they may safely reach out to in the coming out process, knowing that they will not be turned away or receive an negative reaction.

Training the UChicago Community

Safe Space removes the barriers to communicating and supporting LGBTQ people. Many allies experience a fear of unintentionally displaying homophobic or transphobic or prejudiced behavior that may be an impediment for relationships with LGBTQ people. The trainings will allow participants to learn the history of LGBTQ people, and provides an overview of the language and symbols that represents the diversity of the LGBTQ community. Identity development and coming out theories and models are introduced to increase knowledge of the experiences of LGBTQ people. Participants will gain an understanding of oppression and privilege, and the unique aspects of homophobia and transphobia. Through these trainings, participants will be given the tools to be an ally to the LGBTQ community.

Winter Quarter Training

March 4, 2020 at 2-5pm. Register here.

Creating Welcoming Physical Spaces

Safe Space creates welcoming physical spaces on campus where LGBTQ students can have a conversation with students, staff and faculty knowing that they have a basic understanding of the challenges these students face in developing their identities. The visibility of the signs on the doors and in the offices of individuals who have participated in the trainings serves to increase the overall visibility of the ally community on campus, creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ students. The presence of these signs indicates that the University is committed to supporting the LGBTQ community. Finally, the decals also serve to increase the number of LGBTQ students at an institution. Many prospective students look for the presence for a program like Safe Space to help them determine if an institution is welcoming of LGBTQ students. Having this program will help in recruiting these students and increasing diversity at the University.

Developing an Ally Network

Following the orientation, participants receive a Safe Space decal to display in their work or living space, and will have the opportunity to be listed on the LGBTQ Student Life website as an ally to the LGBTQ community. By displaying the Safe Space decal, allies are able to identify themselves as welcoming, safe, educated trained, and aware people, and pledge to promote a safe and affirming space for LGBTQ people by offering an atmosphere of respect, fairness, and trust. Allies will also be provided with programs and additional educational opportunities that will further their development as allies. Those who are part of the Ally Network are listed below:

Michael Babst, Head Men's Soccer Coach:

Brent Barker, Teaching Support Manager, Undergraduate Labs, Physical Sciences Division:

Kaixin Bao, Student:

Eric Benjaminson, Assistant Director, Study Abroad:

Jonah Benning-Shorb, Student: 

Alida Bouris, Associate Professor, School of Social Service Administration:

David W. Bottorff, Head of Collection Management and Circulation:

Julia Brazas, Academic Affairs Administrator:

Carol Bridgeman, Administrative Assistant to the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs:

Jimmy Brown, Director of Center for Leadership and Involvement:

Derek Bundy, Assistant Director of Student Centers:

Samuel Butler

Dana Currier, Assistant Director of Study Abroad:

Luke Cutkopm, Assistant Football Coach:

Lynda Daher, Assistant Dean of Students in the University & Associate Director of Student Emergency Response Systems:

Nick Daly, Assistant Men's and Women's Swimming Coach:

Tempris Daniels, Student Involvement Advisor Center for Leadership and Involvement:

Mary David, Human Resources Generalist, University of Chicago Library:

Sharon Dingman, Head Volleyball Coach:

Chelsea Dobleman, Pro Bono and Public Interest Coordinator, The Law School:

Shane Dunkle, Staff:

Jay Ellison, Dean of Students in the College:

Régine Desruisseaux Enuson, Deputy Dean of Students, Chief of Staff, Executive Director of College Student Life:

Matt Epperson, Associate Professor, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration:

Kathy Forde, Senior Associate Dean of Students and Director of Academic Advising:

Alison LaTendresse, Associate Director of Programs and Student Affairs, Department of Visual Arts:

Jacqueline Nielson, Assistant Volleyball Coach:

Amy Nixon, Judicial Clerkship and Communications Coordinator, The Law School:

Ozge Kocak Hemmat, Senior Administrator, Student Affairs, Humanities Division, Office of the Dean of the Humanities:

Mariel Heinemann, Career Services and Communications Coordinator, The Law School:

Franz Harling, College Student:

Shawn Hawk, Adviser in The College:

Lori Hurvitz, Executive Director of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving:

Jessica Jaggers, Associate Dean of Student Life, Chicago Booth:

Paul Quaintance, Pedagogy Specialists, English Language Institute,

Amanda Michelle Jones, PhD Student at School of Social Service Administration:

Barbara Kee, Professor in the Department of Pathology:

Jen Kennedy, Director of Student Centers:

Lauren Kincaid-Filbey, Executive Assistant at Court Theatre:

Craig Knoche, Assistant Football Coach:

Elana Kranz, Deputy Director of Study Abroad:

Joyce Kuechler, Associate Dean of Students of the Humanities Division:

Kent Lambert, Assistant Director, Hack Arts Lab:

Jesse Landstrom, Assistant Dean of Students in The College:

Sarah Lippert, Financial Coordinator at the Institute for Molecular Engineering:

Elizabeth Maddock Kearney, Associate Director of Admissions at The Law School:

Kendra Malone, Director of LGBTQ Student Life:

Jeanette Martín, Program Coordinator of LGBTQ Student Life:

Tamara McClatchey, Director of Career Services, The Law School:

Thomas Ott, Associate Director of Recruitment, Humanities Division, Office of the Dean of the Humanities:

Ravi Randhava, Executive Director of the Center for Identity + Inclusion:

Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University:

Barbara Reiffman, Curriculum Manager, SSA:

Liam Rossman, Professional Student:

Joshua Ruddy, Staff:

Jigna Shah, Director of Spiritual Life and Assistant Dean of Rockefeller Chapel:

Vickie Sides, Associate Director of Prevention Initiatives and Programming and Assistant Dean of Students in the University:

Dillan Siegler, Associate Provost in the Office of the Provost:

Tobias Spears, Director of Diversity Initiatives in the Office of the Dean in Biological Sciences Division:

Maja Sunleaf, Department Administrator, Department of Linguistics:

Angélica Valdiviezo, Student

John Van Den Anker, Student

Holiday Vega, Health and Social Services Librarian, University of Chicago Library,

Vicki Walden, Academic Administrator, Theater and Performance Studies:

Melinda Wesonga, Assistant Dean of Students and Academic Advising in The College:

Miranda Zhang, College Student: