The Georgetown University Student Association Senate unanimously passed a resolution to establish a Safe Spaces Program for peer support against harassment Sunday.
According to co-sponsor of the bill GUSA senate Speaker Nate Tisa (SFS ’14), the bill was created to enforce the recommendation made by the GUSA Executive 2012 Report on Safe Transitions.
The mission of the Spaces Space Program is to enable students to combat prejudice and to increase support for victims of bias and harassment.
“The program aims to make students aware of available resources and create a safe and welcoming environment for all Hoyas,” the resolution reads.
“This is founded in something I’m personally very passionate about. We need to create a program to encourage students to talk about these issues without having to worry about things moving beyond their control. This program will create a system where students can get help and connected with resources without concern,” Tisa said.
The program includes a training program to train student advocates to deal with sexual assault, relationship violence, harassment and discrimination and to provide personal support for victims of bias and harassment.
“We think this is a good step to combating bias and discrimination from a grassroots level,” co-sponsor of the bill GUSA Senator Jay Factor (COL ’14) said.
Several GUSA senators echoed the importance having resources available for peer support in addition to help offered by the administration.
“Knowing a couple friends who have had to go through the bias reporting system, having peers to help you out is an immediate comfort,” GUSA Senator Elizabeth Oh (SFS ’15) said.
The program will work in conjunction with the GUSA Executive, LGBTQ Resource Center, Center for Multicultural Equity and Access, Residential Life, Counseling and Psychiatric Services and various administrators to train student advocates.
“We’re trying to provide personal support as supposed to institutional support. We’re trying to create grassroots movement that is not promoting diversity from the top down but from the bottom up,” Tisasaid.