A Safe Space for Students at St. Norbert


For minority groups like the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer) community, having a space where they can feel safe and truly able to be themselves can be a valuable part of everyday life. The St. Norbert College Safe Space Ally program is composed of a network of faculty, staff and students, who are dedicated to offering support to LGBTQ+ students on campus.

“Communio is characterized by mutual esteem, trust, sincerity, faith, and responsibility.” Says Tom Doughman, Assistant Director of Counselling and Psychological Service at St. Norbert College. Allyship and Norbertine values are deeply intertwined. Allyship to LGBTQ+ people “aligns with the Catholic tradition of aiding those who are excluded or outcast for simply being who they are.”

The Ally Training will take place in two separate events. The first segment will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 1-3 p.m., and the second on Thursday, March 30 from 2-4 p.m. Attendees are required to attend the first session in order to go to the second one. There is a place to register online for those who are interested in attending.

The first session is called Safe Space 1.0, and will cover various concepts that a person must understand in order to be an effective ally. During the first session, attendees will be taught how to define and recognize social identities, as well as positions of power and privilege. This training session will cover the various experiences that SNC students may experience as they come out as LGBTQ+.  The first segment also points out the fact that allyship must be used continually in our everyday lives.

The second session will focus on the continuous nature of allyship. This session was added based on feedback from people who participated in the first training session and felt that the training could be improved by adding a second event. Ally 2.0 teaches attendees to define kyriarchy (a social system built around domination, oppression, and submission), and the skills of active listening and how to have a supportive discussion, among other things.

The training is an annual event. Participants only need to attend once to become an ally. This is a valuable program for those who are interested in becoming an RA or taking a leadership position in the St. Norbert Community. It is meant to help prepare the trainees to help students with their own personal growth.

If you are unable to attend the program, you can still make strides toward being an ally. Do your best to be open to dialogue with others of different backgrounds, take a look at another’s point of view, and most importantly, treat everyone with the respect and dignity with which you would like to be treated.

Any questions can be directed to Kasia Mills, kasia.mills@snc.edu.

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