Safe Zone Project educates students on LGBTQ rights


The Safe Zone Project is a campaign to educate campuses on LGBTQ rights.
Photo by Arin Froidl

ARIN FROIDL | Reporter

In the fall of 2016, Christopher Miofsky helped to establish a Safe Zone Project community here at Lindenwood by giving students and faculty the opportunity to attend training sessions at which attendees are taught how to be good allies to their LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

The Safe Zone Project is a nonprofit, unofficial campaign found at colleges across the country with the goal of educating students and faculty on the needs of the LGBTQ community on campus.

Miofsky, assistant director of Greek Life, has been involved with the Safe Zone project since he was studying for his undergraduate degree at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville.

On bringing the project to Lindenwood, he said, “I think the campus was already kind of looking for something like this.”

He also said the campus’s response to the project has been “super positive and very welcoming.”

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”Dacoda Scarlett” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”For students it helps them just be a friend and an ally.”[/perfectpullquote]

In the fall of 2017, Miofsky brought his friend Dacoda Scarlett onto the project.

Scarlett, coordinator of First Year Programs, was first exposed to the Safe Zone project when he attended Missouri State University.

He says the program is “an interactive, intergraded and dynamic training program that brings to light the different needs of the LGBTQ community.”

“It provides more visibility for faculty and staff who are supportive of our students so that the students feel supported,” said Miofsky.

The program, which consists of four two-hour long sessions per semester has three main goals: to educate, interact with and empower those in attendance. While it is not mandatory for the training to attend more than one session, attendees are encouraged to go to multiple sessions to have a refresher or learn new information.

Both Scarlett and Miofsky referenced stories of LGBTQ students facing discrimination to help explain the importance of the program.

Scarlett said, “For faculty and staff… [Safe Zone] helps them better provide that support in helping … those student needs. For students it helps them just be a friend and an ally.”

Scarlett said the program also teaches people important professional skills, saying, “To simply coexist with people … and respect people will prove crucial for your professional career. It gives you the skills you need to be a better professional in the working world.”

Spring semester sessions will be held: March 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Harmon Hall (Dunseth Auditorium), March 6 from 10 a.m. to noon in Harmon Hall (Dunseth Auditorium), March 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. in LARC 118, and Friday, March 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. in LARC 118.

Scarlett and Miofsky will also be hosting a Diversity Dialogue on LGBTQ rights on March 22 at 3:30p.m. in Harmon Hall (Dunseth Auditorium).

For more information, contact Christopher Miofsky at cmiofsk[email protected] or Dacoda Scarlett at [email protected].