Montana State University

Diversity Awareness Office

Montana State University
P.O. Box 170545
Bozeman, MT 59717-0545

Tel: (406) 994-5801
Fax: (406) 994-5848
Strand Union Building Room 368

Program Manager:

Ariel Donohue

Counseling and Psychological Services

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173180
Bozeman, MT 59717-3180

Tel: (406) 994-4531
Fax: (406) 994-2485
Location: 211 Swingle

24-hr community crisis help line (after business hours)
(406) 586-3333

CPS Diversity Coordinator:

Mariah Hill

Safe Zone

Safe Zone logo
The mission of Safe Zone at MSU is to promote an inviting and inclusive environment that is emotionally and physically safe for LGBTQIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, questioning) students, faculty, and staff. This is achieved through (1) increasing awareness and education about LGBTQIQ identity, (2) developing and expanding MSU’s network of LGBTQIQ allies as well as increasing visibility of designated ally Safe Zones on campus, and (3) decreasing individual and institutional heterosexism.

The Safe Zone program, a joint effort between the Diversity Awareness Office and Counseling and Psychological Services, works to support MSU's commitment to cultural diversity and to expand the support network for LGBTQIQ individuals. The program exists to acknowledge and support members of our community who identify within th LGBTQIQ spectrum.

Our volunteer Safe Zone trainers are committed to contributing to a campus climate where all students, faculty and staff are able to thrive academically, professionally and personally within a community that is based on shared respect and valued diversity. The volunteers have undergone training and work to educate other members of the MSU community to be both understanding and supportive of LGBTQ individuals.

Members of Safe Zone consist of a team of interdisciplinary staff, faculty, and students within the university who are dedicated to raising awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ community through education, training, and support.  It is our belief that promoting a campus environment that is more accepting and inclusive is beneficial to the growth and development of the MSU community as a whole. The Safe Zone symbol identifies members of our campus community who can provide a safe place to talk about issues that impact LGBTQ individuals.

Why Safe Zone?

Research suggests that a reduction in discrimination towards any group provides a decrease in discrimination towards other groups as well; thus, everyone benefits. Students, faculty, and/or staff at MSU who identify as LGBTQ may not always feel safe about disclosing their sexual orientation due to potential negative reactions or consequences. This may lead to feelings of isolation or invisibility and experiences of campus life as hostile, uninviting, and/or un-accepting. Safe Zone provides an avenue for LGBTQ individuals to be able to identify places and people who are supportive, non-judgmental, and welcoming of open dialogues regarding these issues.

How can I get involved?

  • Attend a workshop. Attend an awareness and education training (Module 1), offered each October and March, OR request a workshop for your student organization, department or office.
  • Become a Safe Zone Ally. Go the extra mile and attend an Ally Development training in order to identify yourself as a Safe Zone Ally on campus. Safe Zone Allies display Safe Zone signs or buttons to denote their support and to signify safe, welcoming places on campus for members of the LGBTQ community.
  • Become a Safe Zone trainer. Each fall, we hold trainer trainings to develop a network of volunteers to lead training workshops throughout the year.

What does it mean to be a Safe Zone Ally?

Individuals who complete the process of becoming an ally recognize the presence and value of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in our community. Safe Zone Allies also believe that campuses and communities are enriched by the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and are willing to assist individuals in accessing support and information resources on campus and in the community. Safe Zone Allies also agree to maintain confidentiality at work and comfortably use inclusive language, avoid stereotyping, and do not assume heterosexuality. Finally, Safe Zone allies agree to be positive, supportive and affirming to students, staff and faculty who wish to talk about being LGBTQ. 

Safe Zone Allies are open and supportive to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and are willing to learn about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expressions.

Do I have to be LGBTQ to be a Safe Zone Ally?

Displaying a Safe Zone symbol does not mean that you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It means you are supportive of the needs of others and willing to learn about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.