If you feel that "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" should be applied to your college curriculum to shield you against ideas you don't like, then you might not want to apply to The University of Chicago.The university recently included the following statement in its acceptance letters to incoming students, and it sets the record straight on how academics will work over the next four years.
Welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to the college at the University of Chicago. Earning a place in our community of scholars is no small achievement and we are delighted that you selected Chicago to continue your intellectual journey.Once here you will discover that one of the University of Chicago’s defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. … Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others. 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.
The letter goes on to say:
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.
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public domain[/caption]At a time in history where more and more colleges are adopting rather than rejecting the "coddling" of America's students, Chicago University stands out. Schools across that country have made headlines for cancelling speakers and removing content from curriculum to shield students from controversial topics. One school went so far as to create a "safe space" for students that included bubbles, play dough, and puppy videos, to shield them from a debate that was currently taking place on campus. Higher Education institutions are caught between their required accommodation for students (Under Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and, conversely, their right to express themselves through the First Amendment. As students increasingly demand more concessions, the schools that comply sacrifice that much more ability for free expression.Geoffrey Stone, law professor and chair of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University, summed it up for the Chicago Tribune, "The right thing to do is empower the students, help them understand how to fight, combat and respond, not to insulate them from things they will have to face later."