Safe Space

NDSCS: A Place for Everyone
Safe Space

All students, faculty and staff deserve to learn in an environment that’s supportive and friendly, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Anti-GLBT bias and prejudice affects all members of the campus community, and it is everyone’s collective responsibility to work against it. An ally understands that standing up for GLBT rights is not a “gay thing,” but a human rights issue about which all people should be concerned.

The main purpose of the NDSCS Safe Space program is to visibly mark people and places that are “safe” for GLBT students. The Safe Space sticker on a door, window or other recognizable place lets others know that the individual located there is a safe person, or ally, to approach for support and guidance. Safe Space Allies are not personal counselors, but they offer a safe place for GLBT individuals to be themselves. An ally listens. An ally respects confidentiality. An ally offers support, personally and through outside resources and referrals. An ally understands!

What does the SAFE SPACE Symbol mean?

You might recognize some of the components of the Safe Space symbol, which is a combination of the GLBT Pride flag and the gay pink triangle and lesbian black triangle. Perhaps you’ve seen a rainbow flag flying at a GLBT event, and maybe you’ve seen black or pink triangle buttons or shirts. Understanding the history of these symbols might give you an idea of their importance, and an understanding of their enduring popularity among GLBT people and their allies.

The history of the pink triangle begins before WWII, during Adolph Hitler’s rise to power. In 1935, he revised a German law prohibiting homosexual relations to include kissing, embracing, and gay fantasies in addition to sexual acts. Convicted offenders, of which there were an estimated 25,000 between 1937 and 1939, were sent to prison and then later to concentration camps. Their sentence was to be sterilized, which was most often accomplished by castration. In 1942, the punishment was extended to death.

Each prisoner in the concentration camps wore a colored inverted triangle to designate their reason for incarceration. The pink triangle was for homosexuals. Estimates of the gay men killed during the Nazi regime range from 50,000 to twice that figure. When the war was finally over, countless gay men remained imprisoned in the camps, because the law regarding homosexuals remained in the books until its 1969 repeal in West Germany.

Like the pink triangle, the black triangle is also rooted in Nazi Germany. Although lesbians were not included in the laws prohibiting homosexuality, black triangles were used to designate prisoners with “anti-social” behavior. Since the Nazi ideal of womanhood focused on rearing children, domestic duties, and church, black triangle prisoners may have included lesbians, women who refused to bear children, and women with other “anti-social” traits. In the 1970’s, gay liberation groups resurrected the pink triangle as a symbol for the gay rights movement. Similarly, the black triangle was reclaimed by lesbians and feminists. Not only are the black and pink triangles easily recognizable, they draw attention to oppression and persecution—then and now. To many, the black and pink triangles represent pride, solidarity, and a promise to never allow another Holocaust to happen again.

The rainbow flag has a much happier history. It first appeared in 1978, when it was flown during the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist, designed the rainbow flag in response to a need for a symbol that could be used year after year. Baker borrowed symbolism from the civil rights and hippie movements, and created a flag that has gained worldwide recognition. The different colors of the flag symbolize different components of the community: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, blue for art, and purple for spirit. A black stripe added at the bottom symbolizes a hope for victory over AIDS.

GLSEN combined both of these potent symbols for the Safe Space stickers and posters. The emblem reminds us of the joy of the diverse, accepting community we hope to build through programs like Safe Space, as well as the struggle against oppression we face as we try to make that vision a reality. In addition, not all members of the GLBT community identify the pink or black triangles as personal symbols, so combining them with the rainbow flag makes a symbol that is accessible.

Safe Space Allies

NDSCS Wahpeton

Videll Ahrens
Allied Dental Education
Mayme Green Allied Health #213R
Dana Anderson
English and Humanities
Haverty Hall #215
Barb Bang
Technologies and Services Division
Tech Center #13
Mindi Bessler
Academic Services Center
Library #215
Shelley Blome
Enrollment Services
Haverty Hall #106
Dennis Broderick
Academic Counseling
Haverty Hall #120
Kathy Buckhouse
Student Health and Counseling Services
Riley Hall #113
Amanda Davison
Social and Behavioral Science
Green Allied Health Center #104
Traci Eklund
Academic Services Center
Library #226
Linda Fink
Academic Services Center
Library #226
Melissa Friday
Human Resources
Haverty Hall #136
Gail Gores
Green Allied Health Center #213S
Cheri Hagen
Academic Services Center
Harvey Henderson
Social and Behavioral Science
Green Allied Health Center #106A
Melanie Herding
Student Health and Counseling Services
Riley Hall #113
Ann Hiedeman
Human Resources
Haverty Hall #126
Kijia Homes
Student Success and Career Services
Haverty Hall #18
Melissa Johnson
Student and Residential Life
Riley Hall #136
Kerri Kava
Student and Residential Life
Student Center #148
Jane Krump
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Green Allied Health Center #102A
Mike Mastin
Facilities Management
Heating Plant
Bethany Mauch
Student Health and Counseling Services
Riley Hall #107
Sherri Metcalf
Print Services
Horton Hall #110
Tim Neumann
Donor Development
Jane Passa
Health, Physical Education and Recreation
BAC #190
Elizabeth Phares-Oren
Student and Residential Life
Riley Hall #130
Vince Plummer
Student Health and Counseling Services
Riley Hall #113
Sybil Priebe
English and Humanities
Haverty Hall #223
Max Reinke
Mathematics and Science
Haverty Hall #209
Renee Rohman
Facilities Management
Patterson Maintenance Center
James Schatz
Resident Assistant
Norgard Hall 8th Floor
Char Schuler
Mental Health
Green Allied Health Center #213E
Bruce Schumacher
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Green Allied Health Center #106B
Connie Schwantz
Information and Communications Technology
Old Main #210
Richard Siegel
Culinary Arts
Student Center #36
Ann Smith
Business Administration and Management
Horton Hall #229
Deb Smith
Mayme Green Allied Health #213S
Ann Taylor
English and Humanities
Haverty Hall #223
Cloy Tobola
Information Technology Services
Student Center #162
Lisa Wixo
Student Success and Career Services
Haverty Hall #18
Kelly Wolf
Social and Behavioral Sciences
GAHC #102C


Susan Bornsen
Mathematics and Science
Mary Beth Burns
College Outreach
Cindy Lee Deuser
Sarah Dixon
Gail Gores
Ronda Marman
English and Humanities
Patricia Schrom
Extended Learning Divison #200A
Tonya Stokka
Pathway Program
Tammy Schatz
Taya Spelhaug
College Outreach

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