Nick Wilbourn

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Chad Thomas

Committee Member

Alanna Frost

Committee Member

Ryan Weber


Safe Zone Foundation, Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Sexual minorities--Education--United States, Homophobia--United States, Campus violence--Prevention


In the last two decades, efforts to create safe spaces for queer students on university campuses have taken what many consider a significant turn, largely because of work done by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Since GLSEN began its Safe Space campaign in the early 1990s, universities have had a model upon which to base their own campus programs to increase visibility of issues related to queer students. In this thesis I examine whether the concept of safe spaces is a productive way to theorize and discuss those places on university campuses where students can actually feel safe from threats--real or perceived; physical, emotional, psychological, or ideological. Using the campus of the University of Alabama in Huntsville as a case study, I analyze the uses and usefulness of the term safe space-- first by examining how students engage with institutionally sanctioned safe spaces, and then by observing how instructors can create safe spaces for students in their classrooms.



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