Safe Zone began in the early 1990s as a volunteer initiative of the UI LGBTQ Staff & Faculty Association as part of a national grassroots push to make campuses more inclusive environments for the LGBTQ community. It was a joint project of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity in the Chief Diversity Office and the LGBT Staff and Faculty Association through mid-2010.
In September 2010, Safe Zone became an official initiative of the Chief Diversity Office and a committee was formed to work on the redesign of the Safe Zone training. . Phase I was redesigned by the committee and rolled out to the campus community.
In the Spring of 2013, the new Phase II redesign was completed and launched. The revamping of Phase I and the launch of Phase II was overseen by a committee that consisted of UI faculty, staff and students.
In the past, Safe Zone consisted of a four-hour training session, later condensed to a two-hour session.
In 2015, the Chief Diversity launched a new course, Trans Awareness to specifically fill the need for education around Trans, non-binary, and non-conforming identity.