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campus speech wars
University of Chicago: We Don’t Have Safe Spaces

The University of Chicago is taking a stand for free expression and exchange of ideas on its undergraduate campus, Intellectual Takeout reports:

The University of Chicago recently made it clear to its crop of incoming students that academic freedom and inquiry remain pillars at the institution, and that the university does not support “so-called” trigger warnings or offer safe spaces that allow students “to retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

In a letter sent to all incoming students, the University said it prides itself on being a place for free expression and that while it will punish harassment and threatening behavior, it will not cancel visits by controversial speakers or discourage the sharing of any opinion. In the letter, the university is upfront about the experience it hopes its students will have:

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.

Universities ought to be the most dangerous spaces a young mind ever visits—where all kinds of new and strange ideas will be advocated by all kinds of outlandish people. If you’re feeling comfortable and secure at college, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s good to know that on at least one campus in America, students are still being promised the kind of experience that opens minds rather than closes them.

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  • Jim__L

    “It’s good to know that on at least one campus in America, students are
    still being promised the kind of experience that opens minds rather than
    closes them.”

    I don’t know whether this actually works. After all, from about the ’60s to the ’90s, Leftists were screaming at everyone to be more Free Speechy. A steady diet of such agitation for Free Speechiness has done nothing but produce closedminded, doctrinaire Leftists who spend all their time screaming for ideas other than their own to shut up.

    It’s almost as if Leftists want only power, and will say whatever is convenient at the time to advance their power.

    • f1b0nacc1

      The Left always believes in free speech until it gains power….then it shuts it down quickly.

      • seattleoutcast

        As one who grew up in a time when the left was all about libertarian values, it came as a shock to suddenly see them switch gears in the late 80s to early 90s. It was a betrayal of sorts. The most insufferable part of it was the self-righteousness that came along with it. The only conclusion one can have is as you stated: once in power, all freedoms cease to exist.

        I often reply to the quip: “Republicans want to tell you what to do in the bedroom.” with, “Democrats want to tell you what to do in every other room of the house.”

        • f1b0nacc1

          I saw the same thing, and it was a major reason that I left academe. I often joked that I escaped the academy the same way Rick Blaine got out of Paris on the last train as the Nazis moved in…
          Note: Nowadays the Left wants to tell you what to do in the bedroom as well…

        • William Snell

          Your quip was inspired. I used to be a solid Democrat and leftist, back when this meant fighting against anti-science wackjobs and keeping religion out of our legal system. But then the left lost it’s fucking mind. Now we have SJW’s and third-wave feminists trying to tell us that only straight white men are capable of racism and sexism, and that we need sociology to property define power structures in relation. The debacle at DePaul University where faculty instructed security not to protect Milo was fascism, plain and simple.

        • Boritz

          “It was a betrayal of sorts.”

          This is the only part of your statement I disagree with. It was a full-blown and unmitigated Dolchstoß.

  • Beauceron

    “Universities ought to be the most dangerous spaces a young mind ever visits”

    But they are…as long as what is being challenged is part of European history or tradition, white America in general, Christianity, or centrist and right wing politics.

    You can challenge that stuff from the rooftops of every university in this country– you can make a career off of it and become rich. Many have.

    What you can’t challenge is anything to do with a “minority” however defined. Race, religion, gender preference, etcetera.

    Frankly, if I was part of the vapid SJW army, I would consider this statement as a gauntlet thrown down in front of me.

    You think Chicago will stand up to 500 Black Lives Matter kids demanding a university building’s name be changed or that a particular speaker be refused access to campus or that white professors be fired and replaced with People Of Color?

    No. They will fold. Just like every university has. They are our future– and frankly, it is exactly what our universities deserve. The rabid students are, after all, wholly creatures of these professors’ own making.

    • Angel Martin

      Easy for University Admins to make brave statements in August.

      Let’s see what happens in Sept when the mob that shut down Trump’s rally arrives on campus.

      • Beauceron

        The notion that a university, representative of a perverted, broken educational system that spawned these idiots, is going to stand up to them is laughable. I would be willing to wager that a majority– probably an overwhelming majority– of university professors and administrators heartily support the objectives and tone of groups like BLM. They love them. They support them. They aren’t going to stand up to them. They are going to promote them.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Perhaps, but then again the Mizzou debacle might very well serve as a useful lesson to stiffen their spines. Please understand that I don’t necessarily dispute the value of your reasoning here, but I suspect that when their own candy asses are on the line (and nothing concentrates an administrator’s mind like falling admissions numbers), they might find this a useful learning experience.

      • Beauceron

        I get where you’re going with your comment, but my response can only be “What “Mizzou debacle?”

        I understand that both donations and enrollment have been hit– but has Mizzou changed its policies regarding BLM in any way shape or form? Not to my knowledge. To the contrary. They took the financial hit in stride and are, as far as I know, moving forward under the new “racial justice” regime. New freshman received a lecture from university leaders about how great the protests were and how “The protests against “oppression,” “racism” and “hate” were necessary to ensure that incoming students do not have to face racism, leaders said. And the students who started it all are being wrongly “shamed because they care about the future and culture of Mizzou.” ”
        And despite a drop in donations, the university found $1 million to do a “diversity audit.” This is, as I understand it, necessary to meet the demands of the protestors.

        And the Mizzou black protestors certainly haven’t slowed down. Here’s an appalling video of them hijacking a memorial for the gays gunned down in Orlando FL:

        • f1b0nacc1

          In the short term, yes…Mizzou’s administrators haven’t paid any real price. The long term, however…not so much. Lower enrollments mean smaller budgets (or much bigger deficits, and unlike the Feds, Mizzou does have to balance its books at some point), and less opportunity for administrators to feather their own nests. I have a few friends there, and from what they tell me, the bite has already begun, albeit on a very small scale…

          • Beauceron

            Well, we don’t know about the long term. Time will tell. Donations may return to normal once people forget– or are convinced that it was all a right wing over-reaction to people just looking for justice.

            If you know people there, I will bow to your insider knowledge. I am just incredibly negative about academia at the moment, so I remain skeptical. It seems to me that the crazy Left– not just the Left or center-Let Dems– but the craziest, most idiotic, hard core iterations of the Left are in ascendance everywhere I turn these days.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Largely we agree…if you read my comments at all you will note that I am extremely hostile to academe, left wing or otherwise.
            But that is for another thread….grin…

  • Matt B

    Kudos to the University of Chicago!! As an elite university this is a tremendous step forward.

    Now let’s talk about your course catalog and degree curricula…

  • Anthony

    U.C. quality initiation component: ” you will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreements. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.” There is no surprise with University of Chicago’s excellent introduction to aspects of the real world (one of many things the University does well).

  • Fat_Man

    Good for them. But, save your applause. They did a lot to inflict Obama on us. Like giving Michie a $350,000 do nothing job to finance them while he got his act together. I won’t give them money anymore lest they use it to build the Obama Presidential Library and Hallucination of Competence Zone.

  • DiogenesDespairs

    Well, at least there’s one American university I don’t have to cross off my list.

  • Greg Olsen

    Good for University of Chicago. I have no knowledge of the Right-Left divide in the various departments on campus, but in the twentieth century in Economics by reputation Chicago is was known as the place to go to study market successes and Harvard was known as the place to go to study market failures.

  • William Snell

    There are no words… I’d almost given up, and now a bright shining light of hope has arisen. One University has finally stood up and stated that they’ll no longer treat students like infants.

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