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  • The Citadel Foundation
  • Blueprint
  • The Citadel Brigadier Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Safe Zone?

What happens at Safe Zone workshops?

Are the Safe Zone workshops mandatory for Citadel employees?

Why was the Safe Zone Program created?

If an LGBT person comes out to me or comes to me for support, what should I do?

Is there anything I shouldn’t do?

Who can help?


What is the Safe Zone?

The Safe Zone programming incorporates cultural competencies for LGBT communities within the framework of The Citadel’s Core Values: Honor, Duty and Respect. In the College Regulations the explanation of "Respect" includes: "Respect for others eliminates any form of prejudice, discrimination, or harassment (including but not limited to rank, position, age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, physical attributes, etc.)."

What happens at Safe Zone workshops?

The workshops, which are completely optional, are offered several times during the school year and are open to administrators, faculty, staff, and students who are interested in learning more about the LGBT community. They are offered by knowledgeable Citadel students and alumni in conjunction with South Carolina Gay-Straight Alliance Network, a committee of South Carolina Equality that offers training in LGBT competency to educational institutions around the state. Trainers are proud of their school and honored to share their expertise with interested members of The Citadel community. If they should so choose, those who complete the training may designate themselves as Allies by displaying a special rainbow post card.

Are the Safe Zone workshops mandatory for Citadel employees?

No. The Safe Zone workshops are not mandatory. Faculty, staff and students are welcome to participate.

Why was the Safe Zone Program created?

President Rosa signed a Notice of Non-discrimination in February, 2012 stating that "The Citadel does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation in its programs and activities as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and Citadel policies." The Citadel approved its first official Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in October, 2012.

Despite the many cultural changes regarding this group, LGBT individuals (particularly young people) continue to be vulnerable to many forms of discrimination, disrespect, and even violence. They also are at high risk of self-harm and suicide. Education about such vulnerabilities helps to reduce the risk of negative outcomes for LGBT individuals. To this end, many campuses and organizations have found it helpful to participate in programming that increases awareness and knowledge about LGBT communities and fosters the development of skills to provide safety and support for members of this minority group. To date, The Citadel has offered three SZ workshops attended by more than 100 participants. As a result of continued demand, additional workshops are planned.

If an LGBT person comes out to me or comes to me for support, what should I do?

  • The most important thing to do is listen respectfully, and indicate your support and willingness to help if need be. Others things you can do:
  • Feel comfortable saying “I don’t know”. It is not your responsibility to answer all of the person’s questions in the moment. If appropriate, indicate your willingness to help them obtain information.
  • Share resource information from the Safe Zone webpage
  • Refer students to the Gay and Straight Alliance (GSA) to connect them with other LGBT students/allies
  • Refer any student to The Citadel Counselling Center (953-6799) if there are concerns about emotional distress and/or potential for self-harm. Escort the student to the Center if concern appears immediate. If this occurs after Counselling Center hours, contact the Infirmary (953-6847) and escort student to the infirmary if concern appears immediate.
  • Let the person know there are many people who stand ready to listen and offer assistance (see list below).
  • If there are concerns about bullying, hazing, and/or sexual harassment, encourage and support the person in making a report to an Ombudsperson or Director of the CARE Janet Shealy (953-7277) (if a student) or Emma Bennett-Williams (953-6989) (if a faculty or staff member).
  • Let cadets know they may also may report to: An appropriate person upward in the chain of command, a Tactical Officer, an Assistant Commandant, Commandant of Cadets, an Ombudsperson, the Title IX Coordinator / Chief Diversity Officer, a cadet Human Affairs member, a Cadet Religious Officer, the Chaplain or any campus minister, a counsellor in the Counseling Center, a member of The Citadel Faculty or Staff, or a Public Safety Officer. The director of CARE will be notified of the incident.
  • Other students also may report to: The Dean of the Graduate College, an Ombudsperson, the Title IX Coordinator / / Chief Diversity Officer, the Chaplain or any campus minister, a counselor in the Counseling Center, a member of The Citadel Graduate College Faculty or Staff, or a Public Safety Officer. The director of CARE will be notified of the incident.
  • Let the person know that such reports can remain anonymous, the responder will discuss limits of confidentiality if they exist.

Is there anything I shouldn’t do?

Try not to be intrusive with questions. Remember, the person has come for support, not an interrogation. Similarly, don’t pressure or encourage the person to share this information with others (e.g., parents, friends, superior officers, supervisors, colleagues, co-workers).

  • Be sensitive to signs of distress (sadness, hopelessness, fear) and don’t ignore them. Don’t allow someone who may be suicidal to leave your office without ensuring that they go to the Counseling Center (or the infirmary if after hours)
  • Do not “out” others by telling them specific names of other students who you know or suspect are also LGBT.
  • Do not pressure student to make a report about harassment.
  • Do not violate the student’s confidentiality by sharing the information with others.
  • Do not discuss personal or political beliefs related to LGBT issues.

Who can help?

Cadets can speak to an appropriate person in the chain of command, including cadet Human Affairs officers, cadet Religious officers, tactical officers, the Assistant Commandant, and the Commandant of Cadets. Others include:

Other individuals can provide assistance to cadets and other members of the campus community:

  • Title IX Coordinator/Chief Diversity Officer Emma Bennett-Williams: 953-6989 (for faculty/staff concerns)
  • Ombudspersons:
    1. Lieutenant Colonel Robert Pickering
      Work Phone: 843-953-5096
      Home Phone: 843-552-6771
      E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
      Office Location: Thompson Hall, Room 137
    2. Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Connor
      Work Phone: 843-953-7469
      Cell Phone: 843-469-7492
      Home Phone: 843-364-9868
      E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
      Office Location: Daniel Library, Room 206
    3. Major Shamus Gillen
      Work Phone: 843-953-4830
      Cell Phone: 843-743-9487
      Home Phone: 843-478-0239
      E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
      Office Location: Admissions, Bond Hall 120
  • Public Safety, 953-5144 (on-campus emergency 811/off campus emergency 911)
  • The Trevor Project
    The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth: www.thetrevorproject.org