Thursday, January 19, 2012


BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will hold Safe Zone training, a nationwide program that educates people on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered issues, for the Bradford community.

            Dr. Ron Binder, associate dean of students at Pitt-Bradford, and Lori Mazza, director of athletics and recreational sports, will conduct the training from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Seneca Building at 2 Main St.

 This program is free and open to the public, but participants need to register by Jan. 25 by contacting the Division of Continuing Education and Regional Development at (814)362-5078 or

            Binder said individuals will learn about basic LGBT issues that members of the community face such as: LGBT history, sexual identity and how it is commonly portrayed, the ‘coming out’ process and why many of the LGBT community do not come out, the effects and meanings of demeaning words, and the creation of an environment where members of the LGBT community can feel safe and accepted.

            “Here at Pitt-Bradford we believe in basic human dignity,” Binder said. “We hope that by extending this training to the larger Bradford community, we can create a supportive environment for the entire community.”

            At Pitt-Bradford, once people are trained, they have the option of displaying the Safe Zone logo, indicating they have successfully completed the training. Community members who complete the training will also have the option of displaying a SafeZone logo.

            “The Safe Zone logo is more than just a sign,” Binder said. “It is a symbol that sends a message that Pitt-Bradford is a safe and accepting community for all students.”

            Binder said the Safe Zone program was brought to Pitt-Bradford during the fall semester of 2010.

            “At a student affairs staff meeting, an incident at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, was discussed, where a student was ‘outed’ by his roommate through a video stream,” Binder said. “The student was so distraught that he later committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. We wanted to find a way to educate Pitt-Bradford students, faculty and staff members so that this could not happen here.”

            Binder said the student affairs staff eventually chose Safe Zone training, a national program, and found a colleague, Dr. Shawn Brooks, associate dean of students at the Pittsburgh campus, to train Pitt-Bradford staff. The initial program was a large success resulting in Brooks returning to train additional Pitt-Bradford faculty and staff members.

            This past summer, several staff members were trained so that they could provide education to other staff members, faculty and students. To date more than 80 faculty and staff members and more than 50 students at Pitt-Bradford have been trained.

            For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources at (814)362-7609 or

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