Tags: university of chicago | trigger warnings | safe spaces

John Ellison Letter to Freshmen: Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces Bad Policies

John Ellison Letter to Freshmen: Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces Bad Policies

(Screengrab of UChicago.edu)

By    |   Friday, 26 August 2016 06:10 AM

The University of Chicago appears to have taken a stand against so-called trigger warnings and safe spaces, as its dean of students John Ellison said in a letter to freshmen that the highly-selective university supports neither.

The Chicago Maroon posted a letter reportedly penned by the University of Chicago's dean of students John "Jay" Ellison on Wednesday that is directed at incoming freshmen. It reads in part, "members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn without fear of censorship."

"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," the letter stated.

 

 

The University of Chicago is one of the nation's preeminent research institutions, according to Forbes magazine. Its alumni include 80 Fulbright scholars and 11 Rhodes Scholars over the past 10 years. Some 89 Nobel Prize winners are affiliated with the school, including six current professors.

The Daily Caller pointed out that the move comes months after a high-profile controversy at another Chicago institution, DePaul University, where a speaking event by a conservative turned chaotic in May.

A speech there by conservative author and writer Milo Yiannopoulos was shut down by liberal activists at DePaul on May 24. DePaul president Dennis Holtschneider resigned a month after the incident.

Trigger warnings, a method adopted by some colleges that alerts students to potentially "disturbing content" in a text or class, has been hotly debated, noted The New York Times.

Equally controversial has been the concept of safe spaces on campuses, described by the Safe Space Network as a "place where anyone can relax and be able to fully express, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation, age, or physical or mental ability."

Inside Higher Ed reported that Yale University president Peter Salovey first addressed the issue while addressing incoming freshmen in 2014, saying, "Although we have not seen these kinds of episodes at Yale in recent decades, it is important on occasions like this one to remind ourselves why unfettered expression is so essential on a university campus."

Many on social media applauded the University of Chicago for its stance.

 

 

 

 

There were also a few detractors.

 

 

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The University of Chicago appears to have taken a stand against so-called trigger warnings and safe spaces, as its dean of students John Ellison said in a letter to freshmen that the highly-selective university supports neither.
university of chicago, trigger warnings, safe spaces
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2016-10-26
Friday, 26 August 2016 06:10 AM
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