FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the Safe Place Program?
The SafePlace Program is an unofficial effort on the part of the students and employees at Pacific Union College to provide places on campus where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students can find support and acceptance. While neither affiliated with nor endorsed by PUC, the program seeks to fulfill the college’s mission to “nurture a campus environment where everyone feels safe, respected, and valued” as articulated in the Diversity Statement.
Why do we need a SafePlace Program at PUC?
There is an intense negative stigma against homosexuality that is found throughout American society and the Adventist church. This stigma is found at PUC as well, leaving many LGBTQ students on campus fearful of reaching out to their school and church community for support. The SafePlace Program intends to remedy this problem by sending a clear and visible message of support and acceptance to LGBTQ students.
How does it work?
Participants in the program are placed on a directory students can access should they need someone to talk to. In addition, SafePlace members have the option of displaying the SafePlace emblem in a visible location to make their support known. This emblem makes a clear statement that the participant is committed to supporting the LGBTQ students at the school in any way they need.
What kinds of challenges do LGBTQ students at PUC face?
LGBTQ students at PUC often experience many challenges, including:
- The difficulty of coming out to one’s self and others
- The stress of being a minority in an unsupportive environment
- Poor academic performance and thoughts of dropping out of school
- Threats, harassment, and physical violence
- Concerns about sexually transmitted infections such as HIV
- Rejection by one’s family and friends
- Difficult or destroyed relationships
- Unrequited attraction
- Uncertainty about the future
- Feelings of spiritual rejection and religious confusion
- Loneliness and social isolation
- Low self-esteem
- Depression and anxiety
- Substance abuse and/or alcohol dependence
- Thoughts of death and/or suicide attempts
We hope to address these issues through open and honest conversations as well as by providing access to supportive social networks such as GASP. In addition, we want to extend support to any friends or family members of LGBTQ individuals who are seeking guidance or support in dealing with these issues.
Who can sign up?
The SafePlace Program is open to all faculty members, administrators, and employees at PUC.
What is the symbolism behind the SafePlace emblem?
The inverted pink triangle has its origins in Nazi Germany, where it was used in concentration camps to identify homosexual men. Similarly, a black triangle was used to identify lesbians and other women deemed “anti-social.” Since then, the pink and black triangles have been reclaimed by the gay and lesbian communities as a symbol of pride. The green circle surrounding the triangles is a universal symbol of acceptance.
Why the name “SafePlace”? Doesn’t that imply that there are some teachers who are not “safe”?
The name is not intended to imply that there are teachers and individuals who are not “safe” to talk to. While we hope that PUC would be a place where students can feel comfortable speaking with all teachers about any number of issues, the fact remains that many homosexuals are fearful of reaching out for support when the fear of rejection is so acute. The SafePlace Program allows teachers to make an active effort to communicate support and acceptance to LGBTQ students.