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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    SafeZONE hosts ‘ally’ workshop

    SafeZONE, an organization dedicated to creating a more safe, receptive and inclusive campus for lesbian, gay, transgender and bi-affectionate people, is holding an Ally Workshop today as part of Coming Out Week.

    An ally is someone committed to providing support and who is willing to listen and advocate for a member of the LGTB community having trouble advocating for themselves, said Kathy Adams Riester, assistant director for residential education and SafeZONE coordinator.

    Three ally workshops, open to all UA students, faculty and staff at the UA, occur each semester, she said.

    Matthew Hall, a resident assistant in Apache-Santa Cruz Residence Hall, took part in his third workshop in three years at the beginning of the fall.

    “”Everyone should do the training if they have not had the opportunity to, because it gives a lot of insight that people have probably never had before,”” said Hall, a senior majoring in math and religious studies.

    Anyone interested in attending today’s 3 p.m. workshop can register by sending an e-mail to or by calling 621-5453. The workshop is interactive, so there is a limit to how many people can attend.

    Hall said he thinks almost anyone could get something out of
    the workshops.

    “”I hope, if they are homosexuals, they would get a better sense of how a heterosexual ally can assist them and that they realize that there are other people that can identify with them and be supportive and willing to help them in terms of the emotional and political side of it,”” he said.

    “”If they are heterosexual, I hope they get a better sense of some of the power structures that are in place and what they can do as someone who has a privilege to help out a more suppressed community.””

    SafeZONE was originally started by Residence Life when a few hall directors who had come from other academic institutions recommended adding the program, Riester said.

    SafeZONE is part of SafeZONE/SafePLACE, a national organization founded in 1992.

    “”The general focus on the ally program is training the allies and giving them education,”” she said. “”We hope that people come out of it confident to become an ally.””

    ASUA Pride Alliance co-director Chase Sutton has been through the training and thought it was beneficial.

    “”It is a great opportunity for the LTGBQ people to voice their opinions and help straight individuals to relieve that ignorance,”” he said. “”It was beneficial for me because I was able to understand what others don’t understand about the LGTB community.””

    Sutton said he thought the program could improve if it had more people from the LGTB community facilitating the workshops.

    Riester said there are a few facilitators who are members of the LGTB community, but that it is up to them to come out during a workshop.

    Dates for the all the workshops being held during a semester are usually posted on Residence Life’s diversity Web site,

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