University of Chicago to freshmen: We do not support ‘trigger warnings,’ ‘safe spaces’
The University of Chicago has once again expressed its commitment to free speech, warning incoming freshmen not to expect any “trigger warnings” or safe spaces on campus where individuals can retreat from intellectual challenges.In a letter sent to the class of 2020, the dean of students for undergraduates explained the private university’s “commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression.”
“Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others,” Jay Ellison wrote, according to the letter obtained by Intellectual Takeout. “You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.
“Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own,” he wrote.
The letter comes as college campuses nationwide struggle to uphold free speech principles while also protecting cultural sensitivities.
In 2014, the university created the Committee on Freedom of Expression due to “recent events nationwide that have tested institutional commitments to free and open discourse.” The committee then drafted a statement reaffirming its “solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it.”
Rather sad that this is news.