Earlier this week, the University of Chicago sent out a letter to its students in regard to their feelings on safe spaces and trigger warnings, a topic that we have heard more about in the past year than ever before.
The contents of the letter have sparked a bit of controversy since its release.
Lately, a trend has developed in which a speaker comes to a college campus and discusses something the students don't necessarily agree with. The students claim the speech "triggers" them, and they respond by creating an "intellectual safe space" for those who feel unsafe by the speaker's beliefs. The University of Chicago said they will not refuse a speaker due to trigger warnings as they view this as impeding the freedom of expression that the university is built on.
Within my own time at Ohio University, I have personally not heard of such a safe space taking place on our campus, although such a safe space could go under the radar easily.
While I feel safe spaces and trigger warnings are to be respected, I understand the University of Chicago’s actions even though it came out in a less than stellar way.
As college students, it is important to have our beliefs and ideologies challenged by their converse. We as a human race grow more when we clash on ideas so we can root out what makes the most sense and is beneficial to society. It is also important to respect when people are made to feel uncomfortable and not chastise however they choose to cope with it.
A safe space is something that may seem ridiculous to those who don’t need it, however, it really doesn’t affect anyone who isn’t taking part.
The rhetoric that we are a generation of sensitive whatever-demeaning-term-fits-here because of how some people deal with situations they don’t agree with is ridiculous because those practicing the rhetoric have never been affected by the aftermath of a safe space.
Chuck Greenlee is a sophomore studying adolescent to young adult integrated language arts at Ohio University. How do you feel about intellectual safe spaces? Let Chuck know by tweeting him @chuckingaround