“Safe Space” stickers stolen from campus offices

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
This “Still a Safe Space” sign in Minne Hall is in place of the usual sticker that is suppose to symbolize a place for Winona State University studnets to go for no judgements. “Safe Space” signs have recently been reported stolen. (Photo by Nicole Girgen)

This “Still a Safe Space” sign in Minne Hall is in place of the usual sticker that is suppose to symbolize a place for Winona State University studnets to go for no judgements. “Safe Space” signs have recently been reported stolen. (Photo by Nicole Girgen)

Cheney Mason / Winonan

Faculty and staff have reported stolen “Safe Space” stickers from office doors around the Winona State University campus.

“I came into my office and noticed that a personal safe ‘Space Sticker’ of mine was gone on the outside of my door,” women’s gender and sexuality studies professor and LGBT advocate Mary Jo Klinker said. “I was contacted by another friend that theirs was gone, and [we] started looking into it.”

Klinker said that within two weeks more than 20 faculty members experienced a “Safe Space” sticker going missing.

“I think that the action of removing them was likely to create a culture that again shows that LGBTQIA+ people maybe don’t feel confident that this a safe campus at times,” Klinker said. “I think their removal signifies a larger issue with discrimination of transphobia, biphobia and homophobia.”

The website of the Winona State club Full Spectrum stated “safe space is a place on campus where GLBT students, faculty and staff are respected and welcome.”

Klinker explained that “Safe Space” means a place for people to be accepted.

“The intention of ‘Safe Space’ training is to provide people with a language and a toolset to understand the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people,” Klinker said. “That’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and ace and the plus means a larger spectrum of gender non-conforming people and I would say sexualities that are marginalized.”

Klinker said that in order to earn a “Safe Space” sticker as a student, staff or faculty member, people have to not only take the two-hour safe space training but also complete a contract stating that they will have a space that is affirming to LGBT people, that they are committed to ongoing learning about LGBT people and that they are ensuring that this is an affirmative and inclusive space.

“Really it’s about creating a supportive community,” Klinker said. “Increasingly the ‘Safe Space’ training has also incorporated into it toolsets about how to address discrimination based on religion, race, ability, sexuality [and] gender identity.”

The stolen “Safe Space” stickers have been replaced to faculty and staff members by Klinker.

“While the program is called ‘Safe Space’, we make very clear that there is no such thing as a safe space in a world that has oppression.” Klinker said. “The intent of the program is to create safer spaces on our campus with the hope that someday this campus can be the safe space.”

“Safe Space” tranning started at Winona State 11 years ago.

“The first ‘Safe Space’ training on the campus was April 19, 2006,” Klinker said. “It was the GLBTA faculty association that planned that and we are still a faculty association to this day so that’s looking at eleven years of ‘Safe Space’ training on our campus.”

Klinker said Winona State has taken this issue seriously and administration is looking into it with standard protocol.

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