Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Safe Space Training: What You Need to Know

Jacob Gifford
WSU students meet for Safe Space Training on zoom on September 22nd. Students learn how to create a welcoming and safe environment for everyone.

Winona State University is made up of a diverse student body, and the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Program understands that diversity itself plays a significant role in community. The program offers many different resources for students and faculty to work alongside one another in creating trustworthy connections and guidance.

Offered this month and again in October, Safe Space Training is designed for anyone and everyone looking to become better educated around creating safe spaces for students and faculty, along with learning vital information on access to resources and tools that are offered on campus.

The training tackles difficult topics around violence and bias against those within the LGTBQIA+ community and discusses issues regarding allyship and even understanding proper terminology around gender identity and sexual orientation.

Autumn Patterson, a student employee for the KEAP Center through the Equity and Inclusive Excellence Office, described Safe Space Training as an opportunity for learning critical techniques and setting up goals to raise awareness.

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Patterson pointed out that one major goal is to enable students to feel safe holding certain conversations without the fear of anyone speaking poorly about them.

“I think people like to assume a lot that like, people are shoving this information down in their throat,” Patterson said.

Patterson added that it is the responsibility of each individual to initially make that decision to seek further education around these topics. She points out that even if someone within the LGBTQIA+ community already has several trustworthy allies, it is still important to have additional people in their lives who will listen.

When asked about their experiences at Winona State regarding acceptance and security within the LGBTQIA+ community, a couple of students, who wished to remain anonymous, had insightful yet contrasting responses.

One student explained that overall, Winona State is a respectful and accepting atmosphere for those who identify as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, however it depends on each department and major (Source A).

Another student’s response was different, mentioning that overall, they felt that Winona State could do a better job at creating safe spaces and that only within certain environments did they feel safe (Source B).

Patterson agreed that improvements are always a goal, but they are doing everything they can.

“I think we do the best that we can with the resources we have,” Patterson said. “I think that we’re always working to improve areas and I think improvement is always going to be around.”

Patterson continued to explain how incredibly encouraging it is that there are faculty and students who are not only willing to arrange and promote Safe Space Training on campus, but that there are many willing to attend the training in search of better educating themselves. Patterson is planning to host an event in the KEAP center sometime in October, collaborating with an individual from Queer Space Collective.

There are several places on campus that serve as resources for students. The Integrated Wellness Complex offers many wellness services including counseling. The KEAP center and the Office of Equity and Inclusion advocate for all students. Within Diversity Clubs/Organizations at Winona State, PRISM welcomes students of any gender identity and sexual orientation.


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About the Contributors
Karleigh Johnson
Karleigh Johnson, News Reporter
Karleigh Johnson (she/her/hers) is a reporter for the Winonan as of fall 2023. She started off at North Hennepin Community College and transferred to Winona State University in her third year to Major in Creative Digital Media and Minor in both Film Studies and Spanish. 
After attending Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion, Karleigh continues to have a passion for the Spanish language and culture. She studied in Spain through Winona State University in May of 2023. Karleigh enjoys travel, art, writing, photography and videomaking. 
Karleigh participated in the Disney College Program in Spring 2022 and became a Disney Trainer. After graduation, she hopes to return to Disney by working for one of the many media and entertainment companies Disney owns. Her dream is to write her own television show inspired by comedic styles of The Office, Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development, and many others.
Jacob Gifford
Jacob Gifford, Features Writer

Jacob Gifford (They/He) is a photographer and a features writer for the Winonan and started in fall 2023. Jacob is in his third year at Winona State and is studying Psychology with a minor in Philosophy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies.

Besides working for The Winonan, Jacob is also the Vice president of Philosophy Club at Winona State.

In his free time, Jacob enjoys hanging out with friends, longboarding, playing videogames, and writing and playing music. Jacob also enjoys going to concerts of local bands.

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