CLAS Department Enters Second Year as Safe Office, Hopes to Expand Reach
(San Marcos, TX | September 21, 2015)
The Department of Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education, and School Psychology (CLAS) is entering its second year as one of the few academic departments designated by the university as a Safe Office.
The Safe Office Program is a collaborative effort between Texas State University’s Office of Student Diversity & Inclusion and Alliance of Texas State. A Safe Office ensures respect for Texas State students of differing sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. It also provides LGBTQIA students with timely and inclusive resources and assistance. Departments and offices earn a Safe Office designation when 75 percent or more of all full-time employees have voluntarily completed the university’s Allies Training.
“This designation reflects the department’s proactive commitment to fostering a fully inclusive learning community in a manner that expands upon the university’s nondiscrimination statement, which sets a university-wide direction by including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as protected categories,” said Michael O’Malley, chair of the CLAS department.
“Alliance is very excited to experience the dedication the Department of Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education and School Psychology had and has to becoming and maintaining their Safe Office Designation,” said Iliana Melendez-Burciaga, Student Conduct Officer for the Dean of Students Office. “We have many offices and departments on campus that have achieved and maintained their designation, but unfortunately not many of those are academic departments.”
Assistant Professor Paige Haber-Curran recalls her drive to gain the Safe Office designation: “I initiated this effort because I wanted our department to be one where students, staff and faculty who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LBGT) feel they are valued and affirmed members of the Texas State community,” she said. “Each of our programs in the department focuses on human diversity, so I felt it was an important step to become a Safe Office in order to make a more visible and intentional commitment to supporting LGBT individuals who are part of our department, take our classes, or interact with our department in other ways.”
Still, their hope is to gain a designation at a higher level.
“We were very excited to learn that [the CLAS Department’s] dedication goes beyond just their department, their next goal is taking the lead in ensuring that the College of Education is the first college on our campus to achieve the designation,” said Melendez-Burciaga.
They are close to reaching this goal. Current Safe Office designations for the College of Education include the advising center, dean’s office, additional institutes and centers, and many of the academic faculty.
“It is a simple placard that represents so much for our faculty, staff, and students; it is always exciting and rewarding to know that our academic departments value and make the time to ensure that our Bobcats know they are supported by their faculty in and out of the classroom,” said Melendez-Burciaga.
See the complete list of Safe Office desginations and learn more about Texas State Univeristy’s diversity intiatives:www.sdi.txstate.edu/Support-and-Empowerment/LGBTQIA-and-Allies/safe_offices