The Daily Beacon, the student newspaper for UT Knoxville, has reported that the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Faculty Senate has passed a resolution creating safe zones for the GLBT population at UT Knoxville.
The safe zones will offer counselling, opportunities to network with others, resources and encouragment reports the article written by Allen Thomas.
Mitchell Ronningen, political coordinator for the Lambda Student Union, told The Daily Beacon that "the scarcity of resources dedicated to the LGBTQ community on campus makes the establishment of such a safe zone critical."
“The safe zone initiative passed by the Faculty Senate is incredibly important for LGBTQ students,” Ronningen told The Daily Beacon. “Often, these students require unique support systems for issues such as coming out or experiencing homophobia on campus from students, professors, etc.”
Rod Ellis, associate professor of social work and chairman of the Faculty Senate’s Faculty and Staff Benefits Committee, sponsored the safe zone resolution.
The exact location of the safe zone has not been decided. The zones are typically marked by clear symbols such as a purple triangle and are staffed by personnel who are trained to respond supportively to those who seek refuge.
“Not only are our LGBTQ students and faculty unprotected by the university’s non-discrimination policy, but there exist very few resources available on campus to these students. This new initiative will raise awareness of the human resources available on campus to students, as well as faculty and staff, who might not otherwise be able to actively seek such resources for any number of reasons,” Ronningen said.