Safe Ground Ally

What is a Safe Ground Ally?

A Safe Ground ally is an individual who supports,speaks out, and stands up for a person or group that is targeted and discriminated against. For the lesbian, gay, bisexual,and transgender (LGBT) communities, an ally is any person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBT people. Allies can make a significant contribution to the LGBT students at Coker College. It is important that an ally demonstrate that LGBT people are supported in their efforts to improve the college, and to take a stand in places where it might not be safe for LGBT people to be out visibly.

Benefits of Becoming a Safe Ground Ally?

  • GAIN SELF RESPECT
  • GAIN OTHERS' RESPECT
  • SUPPORT A LGBT FRIEND
  • A SENSE OF PERSONAL INTEGRITY
  • IMPROVING OUR CAMPUS COMMUNITY

Why be an Ally?

All students are at risk of being bullied, harassed, or called names at school. However, LGBT students are at greater risk of facing hostile interactions with people. GLSEN national surveys indicate that anti-LGBT language is heard in classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, and homes. Nine out of 10 students hear the word "gay" used in derogatory ways or hear homophobic slurs regularly. LGBT students miss classes and some drop out. The GPAs of the students is lower for those that are harassed for their sexual orientation than for those less often harassed.

Your visible support for these students can make a meaningful difference in the lives of not only the individual students, but will also benefit the Coker College community. By protecting all students and allowing them the freedom to reach their potential, we work together to end the anti-LGBT bias and behaviors. Having a supportive college environment provides a safe place to live, learn, and succeed.

As an ally, you help LGBT students feel safer and more included at Coker College. The result will be a more positive and successful college experience.

What Can I Expect as a Safe Ground Ally?

One of the most important roles as an ally to LGBT students is to make yourself known as a person who is supportive of them. Students need to be able to recognize you as an ally for them to find you. Simply knowing that you are there as a supportive resource can help the LGBT student feel better about being at Coker. This is accomplished by posting a Safe Ground sticker visibly in your office or own space.

As a result of posting a Safe Ground sticker:

  • You may find that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, faculty, and staff censor their speech less, providing a more genuine exchange with you.
  • You may find that students, faculty, and staff will be more at ease and will anticipate a non-judgmental atmosphere in your space.
  • You may never notice a difference in the interactions you have with students, faculty, and staff, but you will make a difference.
  • You will make a personal contribution to improving the Coker College community.
  • You will develop a better understanding of your own personal beliefs and biases, how they can impact behavior, and continue to experience your own growth as you work as an ally.
  • To be involved: Involved in training, involved in activity planning, and involved with the students with whom you connect!ncident occurs or you need information

Be Visible

  • Post the Safe Ground Sticker in your space
  • Display inclusive materials, books, quotes in your office
  • Attend events celebrating the LGBT community

How Do I Become an Ally?

Attend Safe Ground training sessions. Safe Ground 101 training for faculty, staff, and students will be held throughout the semester. Contact Shakeria Hunter This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

Sessions will last approximately 2 hours and will include discussions about :

  • Awareness of the LGBT issues
  • Knowledge on the culture
  • Skills to take your awareness and knowledge and communicate it to the students
  • Action to begin making a change

Sign an Ally Contract to provide a safe, confidential support space for members of the LGBT community.

 
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Staff

CAMPUS LIFE

Jason Umfress
Dean of Students

Michelle Coyle
Campus Life Assistant

Jamie Byrd
Health Services

Brandon Fain
Director of Intramurals and Wellness

Shakeria Hunter
College Counselor

Michael Williamson
Director of Campus Safety

RESIDENCE LIFE

Whitney Watts
Director of Residence Life

Tymon M. Graham
Assistant Director of Residence Life and FYE

Janie Campbell
Residence Life Assistant

CENTER FOR ENGAGED LEARNING

Darlene Small
Assistant Dean/Director, Center for Engaged Learning

Michele South
Administrative Assistant for the Center for Engaged Learning

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Contact Information

Office of Student Services
Email: studentservices@coker.edu
Phone: 843.383.8035

Residence Life
Email: reslife@coker.edu
Phone: 843.383.8214

Office of Academic Records
Email: registrar@coker.edu
Phone: 843.383.8022

Center for Engaged Learning
Email: cel@coker.edu
Phone: 843.383.8058

Coker College
300 East College Ave.
Hartsville, SC 29550