University of Chicago Warns Incoming Students That They Will Not Be Shielded From Opposing Views Or Given “Safe Spaces”

Unknown-2I have always been proud of my alma mater, The University of Chicago, and the education that I received in Hyde Park. However, that pride has been magnified this week with a letter sent to the class of 2020. As we have been discussing how various schools have eradicated free speech protections on campus in a national trend toward speech regulation. UChicago has decided to stand its ground and reaffirm its commitment to free speech on campus. The letter warns students that they will not shielded from views that upset them or given “safe spaces” on campus. In doing so, UChicago has recommitted itself to the very touchstone of education: the free and robust exchange of ideas.

The letter states “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.” That line is especially welcomed with nearby schools like DePaul caving into the heckler’s veto and allowing the mob to silence voices with which they disagree.

Speakers (particularly conservatives) are routinely shut down by protesters as universities respond with relative passivity:

We have seen protester’s screaming profanities while claiming to be injured from events that they voluntarily attended:

Universities have an obligation to preserve the right of free speech and students who prevent others from speaking should be suspended from the university. Instead, schools like Dartmouth have officials who actually apologize to the protesters who shutdown libraries and prevented students from leaving.

There is now a leading university that is defying the trend against free speech and that is the University of Chicago. Hopefully the position of the university will be replicated by other schools.

Notably, the underlying report at UChicago quotes Hanna Holborn Gray, who was president during my time at the school, as saying that “education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think.”

Bravo, UChicago, Bravo.

67 thoughts on “University of Chicago Warns Incoming Students That They Will Not Be Shielded From Opposing Views Or Given “Safe Spaces”

  1. Kudos to the University of Chicago for taking proper leadership on the Free Speech issue in public education. This next generation will be known as the snowflake generation because they are so easily offended by words. This has happened partly because of the emphasis over the last decade on minority and sexual rights rather than on our duties and obligations to one another as civilized members of society.

  2. they should then apologize to Dr. Norman Finkelstein and his views on the Israel/Palestine issue … we shall see if this is bs or fact …

    john williams

    • Why should they apologize to Norman Finkelstein? Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul, not the University of Chicago.

      That he was even hired for a tenure-track position more than 15 years after completing his dissertation and after having run through a string of visiting positions and being canned from at least one of them shows the political science faculty was giving him mulligans from the get go. He called himself a ‘forensic scholar’ because he published no original research but rather attacked other people’s research in print, commonly assigned so to do by Noam Chomsky. Most of his academic and professional publications were in a pseudo-academic journal called the Journal of Palestine Studies He could not pass himself off as an areal specialist because he did not have the language skills and he worked in none of the functional components of political science. He’d started off in graduate school as a political theoretician but produced nothing in that vein thereafter. The corrupted political science faculty threw him a bone with a tenure recommendation and the superordinate administration refused to approve it.

      Finkelstein’s a lousy pseudo-scholar. He doesn’t belong in the academy.

  3. Good comments BFM.

    The irony of Brooklyn Bridge’s comments is without an open dialogue that free speech protections provide, the development of thoroughly vetted opinions such as BB’s would never come to fruition. As adults and parents we censor all manner of speech away from our children until they come of an age where they have the intellectual maturity to work through what they see and here. If our censoring does not include developing critical-thinking skills in our children then they are not prepared for the time when we no longer act as their censors. We release these undeveloped minds into the wild and they land on our campuses unwilling and most importantly unable to deal with speech that conflicts with their limited worldview. They implore their new guardians to provide them the “safe spaces” their parents did and the schools comply.

    The “safe spaces” these schools need to provide is one where open debate is encouraged. One where ALL speech is protected and where civil discourse is developed. Teach these young adults how to create an argument. Teach them how to gather all available facts BEFORE forming an opinion. This is how worldviews are formed. Then, when they are ready to “fly” they will be prepared to function in a civil society free of the nanny state.

  4. Olly,

    I really like this idea which you present above: “The “safe spaces” these schools need to provide is one where open debate is encouraged. One where ALL speech is protected and where civil discourse is developed. Teach these young adults how to create an argument. Teach them how to gather all available facts BEFORE forming an opinion. This is how worldviews are formed.”

  5. Eh…a pox on both of their houses. While universities may indeed be going overboard to protect the sensitivities of students, there are a LOT of disgraceful conservatives who’ve mastered the fine art of coded racism and sexism and frankly have no business being invited to speak in an academic forum in the first place.

    Further, this weekend a lot of my conservative friends are freaking out about an NFL quarterback exercising his 1st Amendment right to not stand for the National Anthem to show his solidarity with Black Lives Matter. They all want him fined or suspended for his actions, which to me is just the flip side of what is going on at the universities.

    • there are a LOT of disgraceful conservatives who’ve mastered the fine art of coded racism and sexism and frankly have no business being invited to speak in an academic forum in the first place.

      There are a lot of disgraceful leftists who cannot discuss any issues because they don’t know anything so impugn the motives of strangers instead.

    • Karl Kolchack – Black Lives Matters is a racist and thuggish organization. Standing up for their rights is the football player’s right, but the team has rights as well. Standing up for BLM is racist.

    • exercising his 1st Amendment right to not stand for the National Anthem to show his solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

      I’ll use my 1st amendment rights to point out that Black Lives Matter is utter humbug and that there isn’t one person associated with it whose views are not suffused with ignorance or malice.

    • Exactly. There is political correctness on the left AND the right. Of course, each side only acknowledges the PC of the other side and not its own. And that’s why the dangers of fascism in the US will be so great because it will have supporters on the left and the right. PC is far more about process than content.

      • You’re a fraud or a parody. Typical arts and sciences faculties seldom have visible Republicans more numerous than what you can count on the fingers of your left hand. Ditto administrators employed as provosts or a deans of students.

        In the broader world, there is no such thing as starboard PC outside of institutions specifically formed to agitate for starboard causes.

            • @Art Deco: “If it were not limited to schools and newsrooms, you’d have provided a concrete example by now.”

              I think most groups that hold strong views about politics or religion have patterns of behavior that they find objectionable – whether they refer to it as political correctness or not.

              Hasn’t someone already mentioned Kaepernick’s refusal to stand? Wasn’t there a woman in the Olympics who was criticized for not striking the right pose during the pledge of allegiance? Was it Obama or Gore who was criticized for not wearing a flag lapel pin.

              Clearly these are all examples of criticism of perfectly legal behavior based on a political view.

              Aside from the political point of view, if it is possible to distinguish these instances of criticism from political correctness, please tell me how?

              Most every group, from the left to the right, finds some kinds of behavior commendable and other kinds of behavior worthy of criticism. Further, in some cases they find the behavior so offensive they try to take action against the offender through social media, through the legal system, through ostracism, and I am sure there other techniques as well.

              What is surprising about that?

    • You said, “there are a LOT of disgraceful conservatives who’ve mastered the fine art of coded racism and sexism and frankly have no business being invited to speak in an academic forum in the first place. ”

      Let me translate that for you! “There are a lot of disgraceful conservatives whose arguments make me. and other liberals, look like a bunch of know-nothing idiots, sooo we are all going to call them racisssts! to take the attention away from our own stupidity and lack of intelligent arguments! Because name-calling and race-baiting has worked really well for us! Just lookee at all the black votes we keep getting!”

      No charge! You’re welcome!

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      • Squeeky – I think that if liberals have figured out the code we are not doing a good job of encoding. However in reality, I think liberals are just making sh*t up again.

        • @PaulCS

          I think the reason they use “coded”, is because a normal person would not find anything racist in the speech. In fact, most people find things what Ann Coulter or Ben Shapiro or Milo to be pretty basic common sense.

          Sooo, the liberals have to find a way to impute racism into the speech so they can rail against it, and the person. What, racism is sooo subtle now in the 21st Century, that there has to be High Priests of Racist Code Talk to decipher the writ for us??? Geeesh, but like I have said before, “mindsets” stay the same through human history. It is just the manifestations of a mindset that change. Some of these liberals would have been hollering “Heresy and Heretics!” a few centuries ago at other Christians who didn’t follow the Pope’s latest pronouncement. Or, trying to read the future in goat entrails and tea leaves.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

  6. I need to get a mailing address for the dorms at the University of Chicago. I have a box of toilet paper (fifty rolls) with Trumps ugly photo on the sheets. No one will use it here in our restrooms because they have some fear of Zika — what ever that is. The customers used the Trump paper for quite awhile until the Zika threat was posted on the shithouse walls.

  7. Well you college boys don’t gotta go to Vietnam no more. You can go to Afghanistan but only if you sign up. So sing this song at DePaul and see if they kick you out.

    Well, come on all of you, big strong men,
    Uncle Sam needs your help again.
    He’s got himself in a terrible jam
    Way down yonder in Vietnam
    So put down your books and pick up a gun,
    We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.
    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam;
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.
    Come on Wall Street, don’t be slow,
    Why man, this is war au-go-go
    There’s plenty good money to be made
    By supplying the Army with the tools of its trade,
    But just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
    They drop it on the Viet Cong.
    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam.
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.
    Well, come on generals, let’s move fast;
    Your big chance has come at last.
    Now you can go out and get those reds
    ‘Cause the only good commie is the one that’s dead
    And you know that peace can only be won
    When we’ve blown ’em all to kingdom come.
    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam;
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.
    Come on mothers throughout the land,
    Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
    Come on fathers, and don’t hesitate
    To send your sons off before it’s too late.
    And you can be the first ones in your block
    To have your boy come home in a box.
    And it’s one, two, three
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam.
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

    Copy url

    Soundtrack Lyrics – http://www.stlyrics.com
    C
    Country Joe And The Fish
    Vietnam Song Lyrics

  8. I’m glad that a major school has finally come out on the side of intellectual freedom and against irrational political correctness. (and I’m a liberal!) (As a U of Illinois graduate, I still haven’t got over the benching of Chief Illiniwek….)

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