School won’t say if objecting students would be given exemptions
Ohio State University’s student government recently passed a resolution that demanded the university require its residential advisors to undergo LGBT-centric “Safe Zone” training “prior to interactions with students on their floors.”
The Lantern reported that the Undergraduate Student Government’s General Assembly passed a resolution recently that demanded the implementation of that training for all RAs.
The measure, titled “A Resolution to Require Resident Advisors to be Safe Zone Trained,” was passed unanimously by the student government. It notes that advisors are already required to undergo anti-bias “Open Doors” training, and that “11 percent of Ohio State’s student population identifies as LGBTQ+.”
The Safe Zone Project’s website describes the program as “a free online resource for powerful, effective LGBTQ awareness and ally training workshops.”
Campus spokesman Benjamin Johnson did not respond to multiple inquiries from The College Fix asking whether the school had any intention to force residential advisors to undergo the training and whether or not students with any objections to the pro-LGBT material would be given exemptions.
Undergraduate Student Government President Shamina Merchant, Vice President Shawn Semmler, and Director of Diversity & Inclusion Kayla Wilson also did not respond to multiple queries asking the same thing.
The “Safe Zone Training Facilitator’s Guide” on the program’s website spans sixty-six pages. The manual includes segments titled “Core Vocabulary & Do/Don’t Handout,” “Privilege for Sale & Coming Out,” and “Fearfully Asked Questions (FAQ),” among others.
The facilitator’s guide lists a great many LGBT-centric terms and definitions, such as the word “Mx” which it defines as “an honorific (e.g. Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc.) that is gender neutral. It is often the option of choice for folks who do not identify within the gender binary.”
According to The Lantern, co-sponsor of the resolution Ose Arheghan claimed that the proposed training would “fill the gap” of “wonderful RA’s who haven’t been given the tools to really serve all the students in their constituency.”
Information about the Safe Zone Project is already listed on the website of the school’s Multicultural Center. The webpage includes a link to where university employees can sign up for safe zone training.
According to the webpage, the project “addresses the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and pansexual people,” and is designed to “promote a safer, more welcoming, and more inclusive campus environment in which students of all sexual orientations and gender identities can live and learn fully.”
“Through the training program and the display of Safe Zone stickers, the project creates a visible and supportive network of allies within the campus community who have basic knowledge about issues of sexual orientation and gender identity,” the description continues.
One component of the program, the “Genderbread Person & LGBTQ Umbrella,” provides a 15-minute activity designed to help participants “distinguish between sex, gender identity, gender expression, and attraction.”
The activity guidelines suggest that those conducting the exercise “spend some time in this activity separating some commonly conflated terms the most common being gender and sex,” and how gender presentation, sex, and gender identity, as the guidelines further claim, “may have no bearing on someone’s attraction to other individuals.”
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