Marshall safe space training for faculty, staff

Marshall University is hosting a safe space training Tuesday, Feb. 21 for faculty and staff to learn about LGBTQ vocabulary and heterosexual privilege, among other topics.

“We want people to have a better understanding of our students, no matter how they identify,” Associate Dean of Student Affairs Carla Lapelle said. “We have such a huge variety (of students) and if we don’t recognize the differences in people, then we make language mistakes that make them uncomfortable.”

The training will take place in Drinko 349 at 2 p.m. Participants will learn through lecture and several hands-on activities.

“We are presenting, but the beginning part of it is an interactive quiz where they have clickers to answer anonymously, but it will show you how many people answer the questions about vocabulary and things like that,” mental health specialist Morgan Conley said.

One of the main topics will be heterosexual privilege, which Lapelle said includes opportunities that heterosexual persons sometimes take for granted that the LGBTQ community might not receive.

“Heterosexual privilege is a group discussion activity where we break up into groups,” Conley said. “They have a list of privileges that most heterosexuals have in a relationship. You have to pick so many privileges, but you can’t have them all.”

Conley and Lapelle encourage faculty and staff to attend the training, even if they have reservations or have attended before, to increase the conversation.

“I think a lot of times, we’re reserved if we don’t understand a situation and I want to give faculty and staff the best opportunity to reach their students,” Conley said. “I think that it’s important to understand the students that you are working with so you provide them with the best environment possible. I think that if faculty and staff have the opportunity to attend, they should because it enhances the experience for others because it is so discussion based.”

Faculty and staff can sign up through the Human Resources’ website, but Lapelle said it is not required to sign up in advance in order to attend the training.

Heather Barker can be contacted at [email protected]