The Corner

Education

Do College Students Need ‘Safe Spaces’?

Oberlin College (Wikimedia)

A recent fad on many of our college campuses has been the creation of “safe spaces” for students. The supposed safety involved, however, has nothing to do with the possibility of physical harm. Rather, student activists are demanding that they be sheltered from ideas and speakers they don’t want to deal with. Sadly, officials are usually quite happy to oblige them.

In today’s Martin Center article, Shannon Watkins writes about a documentary entitled “No Safe Spaces” that has been made about this pathetic trend. She informs us, “No Safe Spaces is by narrated comedian Adam Carolla and radio talk show host Dennis Prager. With hints of comedy and entertainment, the film highlights some of the most egregious affronts to free thought on and off college campuses.”

The notion of “safe spaces” seems funny — rooms with crayons and play-doh for hurting college students — but it has serious consequences. Students learn that they can whine to authorities about people who disturb them rather than listening, arguing, and perhaps having to admit that they were wrong.

Among the many examples in the film is that of Canadian student Lindsay Shepherd who was charged with a violation of university policy merely for having shown a video where Professor Jordan Peterson explained why he doesn’t accede to the new ideas about gender-neutral pronouns. Watkins writes, “When Shepherd asked how she violated the policy, she was told that she harmed transgender students by encouraging discussion and remaining neutral on the issue. In their view, Shepherd should have prefaced the video by stating that Peterson’s ideas are wrong and unethical.”

Let’s face it — the “safe spaces” concept makes college campuses unsafe for people who don’t accept leftist ideas.

Watkins concludes, “If our higher education leaders truly want to prepare a generation of responsible leaders, it’s time to put away the crayons.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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