Saved from Salvation? Secular Safe Zones for Atheist Students

The Secular Student Alliance has a new scheme to provide designated ‘Safe Zones’ at US colleges, where Atheists can “explore their developing secular identities, free from … ostracization and harassment”. Modelled after the LGBT safe zone programs, the project trains mentors to create safe, neutral places for students to talk about and share their doubts and “build a more accepting and just society”

The Safe Zone website has a download page with posters, flyers and training videos and seeks to enlist ‘Allies’ among staff and others on college and school campuses. So far, there are Secular Safe Zone ‘Allies’ at 26 college and high school campuses in 14 states, including California, Nevada, Ohio, Utah, Illinois, Florida and New York.

Robert Schmidt (pictured) is an Ally at Utah State University, and says. “Being an Ally feels right to me. All students should feel safe on campus.” Schmidt says that both religious and nonreligious students are “my students” and he feels protective of both. As an ‘Ally’, he said, “I don’t preach, I don’t denigrate others, and I don’t promote one worldview over another.”

Sources: RNS / SSASZ

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