University of Chicago to freshmen: We do not support ‘trigger warnings,’ ‘safe spaces’


Washington Times:

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.


Proverbial hits the fan in 3… 2… 1…


What’s sadder is that college students are so delicate that they must be protected from hearing things they don’t like.

Good for the university for doing this. :thumbsup:


UC is very expensive and hard to get into. Students who feel the need for pampering are free to apply elsewhere.

One of the things UC brags about is the large number of Nobel Prize winners that have connections to them. Not many people are able to change the world by avoiding ideas other than their own. There are exceptions, of course. One of their senior lecturers won a Nobel Peace Prize seven years ago.:shrug:


They could have saved a lot of typing by just saying “This isn’t Rutgers”.


Good for them. If “progression” is all about not offending anyone and about people being really offended without good cause, count us out!

Also, if you get offended so easily and need a “safe space,” perhaps you don’t belong in the greater society.


Used to be, that folks learned on the grade-school playground that getting offended is a part of life.

Or is that just so very 1900s?


I hope their very vocal statement will start a trend against kowtowing and letting social justice warriors set school policy.


I’m not a fan of trigger warnings. They would seriously inhibit teaching most of my classes. However…

A few years ago I gave my students two pieces to read on abortion. Both offered severely flawed arguments and that’s the reason I shared them – we identified the many fallacies included in them, identified the information that’s missing that would be necessary to persuade a reader, etc. After class, a young girl came to my office to share with me that while she understood why we had dealt with these readings, she had had an abortion two years earlier and was still reeling from her decision, which she deeply regretted. Attending and participating in this specific class brought it all back and she was weeping. A similar experience occurred when a young man identified as a rape victim for the first time publicly after I asked students to read and discuss Adrienne Rich’s poem “Rape.” I feel for some of these students. I don’t know what the answer is for them by the time they reach me and as I said, I really can’t make topics off limits and do any kind of justice to the classes I teach. But some of their experiences are heartbreaking and I must say I’m not 100% comfortable with the fact that I’m the one reawakening all of their trauma. :frowning:


This is good. College students need to know that social justice warriors do not rule the world.


Id say the problem is todays parents, they do not want their kids exposed to any kind of negativity, even if its normal kids going back and forth with each other, like they used to do, its only natural some are going to be offended, and kids learn social skills from these events, however now parents try to protect their kids and ensure they are overly sheltered growing up.

I cannot imagine what the issues will be when all these sheltered kids grow up and become adults!


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