In the Summer of 2011 a group of PCC staff and faculty decided to begin addressing issues around undocumented students.
In Fall 2011, the planning team conducted a student focus groups (undocumented and LGBTQ students-100) and researched nationally what community colleges were doing to support students. Members realized that we would grow our support if we included undocu-queer students and LGBTQ students in general. Met with the Chair of the Faculty Development committee and Diversity Coordinator on campus. Met with Director of Human Resources, Dr. Ben Lastimado to receive financial support and met with the President of the Academic Senate.
In Spring 2012, the first training took place and had 40 participants for 8 hours of training (4 hours Undocumented/ 4Hours LGBTQA) which involved classified, faculty and managers were in attendance. The coalition was awarded SSF funds- $10,000 for 2013/2014 Safe Zone Trainings and in summer 2012 curriculum changes based on evaluations from spring trainings were assessed. In Fall 2012, safe Zones began training all new faculty training through support of HR and developed Safe Zone 1.0 Trainings. Lapel pins were given to allies a s ameans to show visibility on campus post-training. In Spring 2012 the 1st annual Safe Zone end of year ceremony awarded the first allies of the year. In Spring 2013, President/Superintendent, Dr. Mark Rocha helped mark the team efforts by signing a declaration of support for Safe Zones and an open letter for Partnership for a New American Economy, which calls for rational immigration reform.
Safe Zones held a press conference and received recommendation from State of California through the office of Senator Carol Liu’s office following the Board of Trusties who institutionalized with a resolution. In 2014-2015 Safe Zones received $10,000 plus in kind from:
- Associated Students
- Presidents Office
- Human Resources
- Diversity Committee
- Association on Latino Employees
- Upward Bound
- Cross Cultural Center
- Financial Aid
- Queer Alliance
- United Without Boundaries
- Public Relations
In Spring 2015, Safe Zones trained all student services staff (70 employees) and library staff. Safe Zones met with Interim Director of Admissions with recommendations to modify procedures to create a more equitable process for undocumented students. Additionally, Safe Zones trained Irvine Valley College staff (40) and led Undocumented and LGBTQA panels at Pacific Oaks College for graduate students learning about equity and diversity. Due to our work, the director of admissions reversed a previous policy to allow students from CEC who graduate with a GED to quality for AB540. Safe Zones started the implementation of the Safe Zones Comprehensive Students Support Services Program and collaborated with facilities for getting “gender neutral” bathrooms.
In total, Safe Zones has trained more than 559 faculty, staff, administrators, and students. Future goals include helping other campuses start Safe Zones Curriculum, supporting student clubs by training their members and campus student community, growing student services for all Safe Zone groups, and creating a campus culture that would eradicate the need for the Safe Zone Coalition.