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Campus feels ‘unsafe’ after ‘Safe Zone’ posters torn down, chancellor says

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s chancellor has issued a warning to campus bandits who have been ripping down “Safe Zone” posters that pepper the campus: Stop doing it, he said, because you’re making others feel “unsafe.”

The posters and placards are upside-down, pink and green triangles that state: “This symbol is meant to create an environment committed to diversity and mutual respect, where all students can feel ‘safe.'”

“[T]he unauthorized removal of Safe Zone signage makes members of our community feel unsafe,” Shields’ message stated. “Removal of these signs and posters is a serious and important limitation on the safety of everyone on campus.”

Although they do not directly state as much, the Safe Zone placards are meant to increase awareness and support for LGBTQ students and staff, according to Shields.

Here’s Chancellor Shields’ entire message, posted on the UW-Platteville Police Department Facebook page on April 8, complete with an image:

It has come to my attention that in recent months, Safe Zone triangles and posters have been repeatedly taken down from the doors of faculty and staff across campus without permission.

UWP-SafeZoneTriangleSafe Zone placards and trainings increase awareness, education, and skills for those who support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students, staff, and faculty.

Members of our community rely on Safe Zone placard availability and programming, and report that Safe Zone materials contribute to a feeling of safety on this campus. Contrarily, the unauthorized removal of Safe Zone signage makes members of our community feel unsafe.

Removal of these signs and posters is a serious and important limitation on the safety of everyone on campus. We are a campus that promotes tolerance which means that each of us, as members of the campus community, are responsible for helping to maintain a safe environment for everyone.

I urge you to consider taking specific action to communicate that we are not a campus that tolerates behavior that makes members of the community feel unsafe:

Specifically:

Refrain from removing Safe Zone triangles and posters without permission.
Respond to silencing efforts when you see them. Speak up if you see someone removing posters or signage,

If posters or Safe Zone triangles have been removed from your door, or your bulletin board, submit a bias incident report to help us keep track of how often these thefts are occurring: https://www.uwplatt.edu/diversity/bias-incident-reporting.

Get to know people whose identities differ from yours, and embrace a “walk a mile in their shoes” approach.

Request a Safe Zone training. Contact the Doyle Center at [email protected], or stop in to talk with staff members in 136 Warner Hall.

Attend programming, and encourage your colleagues and friends to do the same.

Next week is Pride Week at UW-Platteville. For a list of Pride Week events, please visit the Doyle Center for Gender and Sexuality events page: http://www.uwplatt.edu/doyle-center/upcoming-events.

Please participate in the effort to make our campus a safe space for everyone. Together, let’s make it clear that our campus culture values visibility, safety, support, and critical discussion around all gender and sexual identities.

Dennis J. Shields
Chancellor

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix and a visiting fellow with the Independent Women's Forum.