February 29, 2016

CSU offers 'safe spaces' across campus for many

Cleveland State University offers a Safe Space program specifically aimed to improve support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) students as well as the Mother’s Room in the Mareyjoyce Green Women’s Center, a secure area on campus for nursing mothers.

In a report done by Great Value Colleges, Cleveland State ranked 19 on the list of colleges with safe spaces offered for students. Cleveland State was recognized for providing inclusive areas around campus where students of any race, gender, sexuality, class and ability are able to find support without prejudice.

A safe space on campus is necessary to create peer support and awareness, an environment where students can share education, experiences and to feel like they belong. Cleveland State faculty and staff are able to display the Safe Space symbol as a message to LGBTQ students and colleagues, showing that they have received the Safe Space resource manual and are committed to LGBTQ issues.

These symbols can be displayed as a sign letting students on campus identify Safe Space program members and know that they are able to confide in members about personal issues.

Members of the program listen to concerns and provide assistance, such as referrals to other individuals and agencies.

Another safe space on campus is the Mother’s Room, offered by the Mareyjoyce Green Women’s Center since August 2014. It has arranged a private and secure area in the business building where nursing mothers can go for privacy while they are on campus.

Nursing mothers are encouraged to visit the Women’s Center in Main Classroom and sign up for a private access code to the Mother’s Room.

“We’re the Women’s Center,” Jillian Keller, assistant director of the Resource Centers, said. “We’re here to support women.”

After researching other university’s statistics — how many students used the rooms, how many rooms that university had, what did they offer — across the nation, Cleveland State created its first room in the summer of 2014.

The Mother’s Room is equipped with lounge chairs for pumping, desks for homework, a refrigerator to store lunch or breast milk, as well as a microwave.

Its amenities meet several needs of the mothers on campus, giving them a space where they can multi-task and work toward getting their degrees.

The Women’s Center is looking for additional rooms on campus, including a room on the east side of campus to avoid a long walking commute to the business building.


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