Before and after President Trump’s election in November, safe spaces began appearing around college campuses. A safe space is defined as “a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment or any other emotional or physical harm.”
Title IX Coordinator Lori LeBlanc is currently starting a new program on campus called Safe Haven, which helps students and faculty offer safe spaces to students dealing with a number of issues.
According to the Safe Haven Referral and Resource Guide for Northwestern State University, the purpose of the Safe Haven program is to “provide the NSU community with safe people and spaces where they can find care and support.”
Interested students and faculty will receive training in issues related to suicide prevention; academic success and support; the LGBTQ+ community; monetary, housing, food, mental and physical health insecurities; faculty and staff’s responsibilities concerning reports of sexual misconduct; tips for allies of transgender people; and issues relating to religious communities.
Trained students and faculty will be identified by the Safe Haven logo on email signatures, Moodle shell labels and office doors.
While no official date has been set, training will begin mid-September. Information on Safe Haven training and organizational information will be posted on the NSU “Student Concerns” Facebook group at the start of the fall semester.
“[NSU wants] to expand and formalize the advocacy of many student services offices so that we can effectively eliminate barriers to life, academic and professional success for all NSU students,” LeBlanc said.