I've been invited on a number of fronts to participate in training for Tulane's "Safe Zone program." I find the concept of the program somewhat unfortunate:
Safe Zone Ally Training
Safe Zone training is a voluntary program designed to reduce prejudice and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The Safe Zone program makes no assumptions regarding the reasons people choose not to participate. According to Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, an ally is someone joined with another for a common purpose. Tulane's safe zone program describes allies as persons who may or may not be a part of the LGBTQ community but have chosen to be identified and available as resources to offer confidential support, respect, assistance, and accurate information related to LGBTQ issues and concerns. Allies are people who believe in the human rights of all people and demonstrate this by their presence and actions, their acceptance and celebration of diversity among all people
Really, while the program description states that it "makes no assumptions regarding the reasons people choose not to participate," it does make a broad assumption that the campus population at large is, in effect, "unsafe" for some individuals in the campus community.
The goal, as well-intentioned as it is, should not be to create beachheads of tolerance and understanding, but to hold all students on campus to a standard of acceptance and, at the very least, neutrality. We don't need allies marked out if everyone is expected to be an ally. Perhaps some will say, "but Brad, not everyone is understanding. There is a real need for this." And I would respond: "Things will only change when the community as a whole is held to a higher standard informally by its own membership, or a vocal, well-grounded segment of its membership."
Students should certainly feel safe on campus regardless of their sexual orientation or sexuality. But it's unhelpful to prolong the discrete and insular minority status of some students based on their sexuality by dint of a university program.