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Safe Zone at UT

Fall 2022 dates are live!

Safe Zone at UT is an educational workshop series focusing on:

  • Basic language and terminology related to gender and sexuality
  • Awareness and understanding of the intersections of gender, sexuality, and other social identities
  • Skills to intervene in situations of discrimination and injustice
  • Knowledge about LGBTQ+ resources available on UT’s campus.

Safe Zone is open to all current faculty, staff, and students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. At this time, we are unable to offer our sessions to the Knoxville community or non-UT affiliated organizations, groups, and departments.


The Safe Zone at UT program consists of three tiers, inspired by the Multicultural Competence Models proposed by Pederson (1994) and Pope, Reynolds, and Mueller (2019).

Tier 1 – Awareness consists of one 2 hour lecture/presentation. Tier 1 sessions launched in fall 2018.

After participating in Tier 1, session participants will be able to:

  • identify and articulate the purpose of Safe Zone at UT
  • identify gender and sexuality-related resources at UT
  • identify and apply basic language and terminology related to gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation

Tier 2 – Knowledge consists of one 2 hour presentation and includes small group discussion with case studies inspired by campus life. Tier 2 sessions launched in spring 2020.

After participating in Tier 2, session participants will be able to:

  • identify and apply terminology related to sex assigned at birth, gender expression, and gender identity in order to better serve the LGBTQ+ community.
  • express greater confidence in their knowledge and support of the transgender and nonbinary communities.

Tier 3 – Skills consists of one 2 hour presentation consisting of 45 minutes of small group roleplay-based scenarios inspired by campus life followed by a large group debrief. This session requires a camera and a microphone–if you are not able to have these items for your session, we encourage you to sign up at a later date when you are able to acquire them. Tier 3 sessions launched in fall 2021.

After participating in Tier 3, session participants will be able to:

  • advocate for LGBTQ+ populations by analyzing a situation and providing resolutions to issues based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • express greater empathy and confidence in how to support LGBTQ+ populations on campus

The following sessions are open to any member of the UT campus community.

Please click the link to register for the session via Zoom. You will automatically receive the log-in information. Authenticated users (@tennessee.edu) is REQUIRED for security purposes. Please refer to OIT’s “Getting Started on Zoom” page for more information on signing in as an authenticated user.

The following sessions are open to any member of the UT campus community.

Please click the link to register for the session via Zoom. You will automatically receive the log-in information. Authenticated users (@tennessee.edu) is REQUIRED for security purposes. Please refer to OIT’s “Getting Started on Zoom” page for more information on signing in as an authenticated user.

The following sessions are open to any member of the UT campus community. Reminder: This session requires a camera and a microphone. If you are not able to have these items for your session, we encourage you to sign up at a later date when you are able to acquire them.

Please click the link to register for the session via Zoom. You will automatically receive the log-in information. Authenticated users (@tennessee.edu) is REQUIRED for security purposes. Please refer to OIT’s “Getting Started on Zoom” page for more information on signing in as an authenticated user.

After completing all three main tiers of Safe Zone at UT, participants automatically qualify for certification. Participants will contacted with their certification of completion and additional information at the end of the semester in which they completed their final Tier 3 training. This cycle happens every August, December, and May.

Certifications of completion expire after four years and will require participants to attend additional follow-up trainings to remain engaged with best practices due to the evolving nature of language and terminology. We will have more information on the recertification process next year.

We are accepting requests for individual trainings for student organizations, campus units and departments, and other UT affiliated groups on a limited basis. Please contact us at pridecenter@utk.edu with more information about your request, including:

  • Your name, email and other relevant contact information
  • Your group size (approx. #)
  • Your preferred modality (we are currently only accepting virtual/Zoom sessions at the moment)
  • Your proposed dates and times (2 hour per tier). We are not able to shorten the length of any of the three sessions.
  • Any other relevant information for your request

Please submit your request at least four weeks ahead of your tentative dates. We ask that you first see if your group can attend any previously scheduled sessions prior to making your request. We may not be able to fulfill your request due to capacity, but we will make every effort to make it happen. Thanks for your interest, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

  • Ciara Gazaway
  • Casey Darby
  • Judi Gibbons
  • Heather Hall
  • Bonnie Johnson
  • Miranda Lough
  • Katy Malone
  • María Martínez
  • Will Martinez
  • Leah Pendarvis
  • Rebecca Reed
  • Calantha Tillotson
  • Julianna Tullos
  • Ronda Wright
  • Crystal Zimmerman

We are not accepting new applications for the Safe Zone at UT Facilitation Team at this time. We will re-open applications for the 2023-2024 team in March/April 2023.

Qualifications and Responsibilities

  • Be a faculty member, staff member, or enrolled graduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Complete all three tiers of training by fall 2022
  • Have a general working knowledge of gender and sexuality related terminology and an open mind for learning updated information
  • Demonstrate active listening, communication, and rapport-building skills; time management skills; and a consistent, warm, and approachable demeanor to create inclusive and judgment-free learning environments
  • Demonstrate previous facilitation and/or teaching experiences (preferred but not required)
  • Commit to attend at least two facilitation team meetings per semester
  • Commit to facilitate at least two workshops per semester (4 hours total, reconfirmed every semester)
  • Attend the facilitation team train-the-trainer program

Please fill out this form FULLY (do not leave any answers blank) for consideration. If you do not receive a confirmation email about your submission, we did not receive it.

Join the Safe Zone Network!

The Safe Zone Network is a voluntary network of faculty, staff and students who believe that every member of the UT community should have an equal opportunity to grow, learn, and work at a safe and welcoming campus.

After completing all three tiers of training and passing the certification test, you will be asked to join the network. Once accepted, you will have your name publicly displayed in our directory as a resource for LGBTQ+ students. Remember: allyship and support is a continuous process. Once additional SZ programming becomes available, SZ network members will be expected to stay up to date.

Since all three tiers have not been launched yet, we are not accepting members into the network at this time. Thanks for your patience.

Thanks to all for your previous service with us!

  • Bilqis Amatus-Salaam (2020-2021)
  • Christa Gloster (2020-2021)
  • Yasja Hemmings (2020-2022)
  • Cap Cappanola (2021-2022)
  • Nick Smith (2021-2022)