University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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About Us
About Us

Diversity, Equity, and Access |
Safe Spaces

USC Chan is committed to helping our students find and create safe spaces. A safe space is a physical space intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threating actions, ideas, or conversations. The purpose of a safe space is to provide a positive, affirming environment for groups, often those who feel marginalized, to come together and engage in open and honest dialogues.

Reserving a Safe Space

To reserve a room in CHP, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), call (323) 442-2850, or speak with the reception desk in CHP 133. If you would like to host the meeting, please provide your name and either your phone number or email so that you may be contacted. If you wish to reserve the space anonymously, please indicate “Anonymous Safe Space Request” and your information will be purged from all records related to the space reservation.

There are also several spaces outside of CHP that might be conducive for a safe space meeting. Options on the Health Sciences Campus include the HSC Marketplace at Seaver Residence and Norris Medical Library. There are also many options on the USC University Park Campus including classrooms, libraries, and university housing.

More Information About Safe Spaces

Hosted or Un-Hosted Meetings

A safe space meeting can be “un-hosted,” or “hosted” by a designated person assigned to lead the meeting and secure the space. For an un-hosted meeting, the space would be secured and left open for use during a prearranged time period.

Open or Closed Meetings

A safe space meeting may be “open” or “closed.” Open meetings are available to anyone who is interested in providing support, or allyship, to peers and the larger specified community. Closed meetings are limited to individuals who self-identify as being a member of the specified community. (It is up to the individual to determine their own membership.) Generally, the reason for a closed meeting is for members of the group to gather together to share experiences, openly and honestly, with the belief that other members have likely experienced similar situations.

Community Rules

Regardless of whether the meeting is un-hosted or hosted, or the designation status of the meeting is open or closed, it is important to establish and maintain community rules/guidelines/norms. Meeting members should be made aware of the community rules before the meeting commences.  The rules should be decided on together and agreed to by everyone in attendance. Below are proposed community rules developed by students on the DEA Committee:

  • Respect others’ personal opinions and preferences.
  • The modified “Vegas rule” = What’s said here, stays here. What’s learned here, leaves here.
  • Share stories, not names and gossip.
  • Do not share someone else’s story without their consent.
  • Use “I” statements, be sincere, practice respectful honesty.
  • Check your assumptions.
  • Check your body language.
  • Avoid making generalizations.
  • Acknowledge emotions and discomfort.
  • Believe in common best intentions.
  • Speak one at a time; give others an opportunity to speak and do not dominate discussions.

(Adapted from Safe Zone Project, Berkeley Student Cooperative, and GLSEN Gay-Straight Alliances).