Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

2015

Thesis Director

Richard L. Roberts

Abstract

Since the 1990s, safe space initiatives, such as Safe Zone, have been developed on college campuses across the United States as a way of educating participants on LGBTQ-related issues and how to become a better ally/advocate for the LGBTQ community. While little qualitative research has been conducted on safe space initiatives to begin with, there is even less research on the perceptions participants have of these types of programs. Thus, the primary purpose of this study was to analyze the perceptions of the Phase 1 Safe Zone training among first year RAs in the residence halls. A secondary purpose was to examine how first year RAs perceive their ability to utilize training material in order to interact with LGBTQ students and implement programming within the context of the residence hall environment. Findings from the present qualitative study suggest that participants found the Phase One Safe Zone training to be educational and transformative, stating that it allowed them to see the bigger picture and become more aware of the privileges that they possess. The study's participants also felt that, while much of the active programming they attempted elicited a lackluster response, it allowed them to create a greater sense of awareness among their residents.

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