UW-Platteville chancellor: Safe Zone signs on campus removed without permission

UW-Platteville chancellor: Safe Zone signs on campus removed without permission

University of Wisconsin-Platteville officials are asking students and community members to help keep the campus a safe space for everyone after LGBTQ signs have been taken down across campus.

UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields sent an email to students Friday saying Safe Zone triangles and posters have been repeatedly taken down from doors across campus.

“Safe Zone placards and trainings increase awareness, education and skills for those who support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students, staff and faculty,” the email said.

Shields said members of the community rely on Safe Zone placard availability ad programming, and said Safe Zone materials contribute to a feeling of safety on campus.

UW-Platteville senior Chris Patterson said the news is disheartening.

“[College] is about finding yourself and who you are and where you really belong, and so having these things happen can hinder that development for a person,” Patterson said.

“The removal has been sending the message to LGBTQ folks on campus that we’re not welcome,” UW-P fellow Clare Forste said.

The thefts have also sparked a conversation about inclusiveness on campus, something Patterson calls a silver lining.

“We need to take a stand,” he said. “We need to take a stand now. Let’s work together to create a better future for the inclusion of LGBT students here at UW-Platteville.”

“The unauthorized removal of Safe Zone signage makes members of our community feel unsafe,” Shields said in the email. “Removal of these signs and posters is a serious and important limitation on the safety of everyone on campus.”

Shields is asking members of the UW-Platteville community to:

Refrain from removing Safe Zone triangles and posters without permission.
Respond to silencing efforts when you see them. Speak up if you see someone removing posters or signage.
If posters or Safe Zone triangles have been removed from your door, or your bulletin board, submit a bias incident report to help us keep track of how often these thefts are occurring: https://www.uwplatt.edu/diversity/bias-incident-reporting. Get to know people whose identities differ from yours, and embrace a “walk a mile in their shoes” approach. Request a Safe Zone training. Contact the Doyle Center at doylecenter@uwplatt.edu, or stop in to talk with staff members in 136 Warner Hall. Attend programming, and encourage your colleagues and friends to do the same. Next week is Pride Week at UW-Platteville. For a list of Pride Week events, please visit the Doyle Center for Gender and Sexuality events page: http://www.uwplatt.edu/doyle-center/upcoming-events.