University of Chicago takes stand against 'safe spaces'

CHICAGO -- A letter sent to incoming freshman students at the University of Chicago reignited the culture war debate over the necessity of "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings" at colleges across the nation.

CBS affiliate WSBT-TV in Chicago reports that the Dean of Students, John (Jay) Ellison, PhD, issued the letter to the incoming Class of 2020.

It makes explicitly clear that the university's commitment to "freedom of inquiry and expression" does not require the support of "trigger warnings:"

"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."

Charles Lipson, professor of International Politics at the University of Chicago, told WSBT that he supports the letter and added that education is not about "shouting down others."

"Colleges shouldn't be about that and it's high time that universities stood up and supported the principle and that practice" Lipson said.

The school does not ban preexisting 'safe spaces' for certain groups according to WSBT, but reception of the letter was mixed among students they queried.

Tonight on 10News at 11, reporter Phil Buck will talk to professors from University of South Florida St. Petersburg about the University of Chicago's stance and what it means to academia.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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