You don’t have to look very hard to find examples of colleges caving to politically correct madness. Conservative speakers are routinely canceled or given extensive hurdles to jump through in order to speak. A tactic Milo Yiannipoulos has reported experiencing is an attempt to cancel his speeches by proxy, is imposing large security fees on him at the last minute.
Even when conservative speakers are given the opportunity to speak, then it’s the students, not the faculty, trying to shut them down through a live protest to disrupt the event. Some aren’t quite as disruptive – and instead flood to a “safe space” instead. When Christina Hoff Sommers spoke at Oberlin College, there weren’t any disruptions – but many students did leave to attend a safe space, complete with Play-do, coloring books, and videos of frolicking puppies. Ironically, when she spoke at Georgetown University, she had to be provided with security, presumably to protect her from the same kind of students who need those safe spaces. To these kinds of people, words are “violence” and “traumatizing,” but physical violence is free speech.
Not all colleges have gone off the deep end however, and more need to realize that when it comes to attracting students, social justice craziness is scaring them off to other schools.
Via Heat Street
The University of Chicago, one of America’s most prestigious and selective universities, is warning incoming students starting this fall not to expect safe spaces and a trigger-free existence during their four-year journey through academia.
In a letter sent to the class of 2020, university officials said one of the defining characteristics of the school was its unwavering commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. Civility and mutual respect are vital to the campus culture, the letter states, but not at the expense of shielding students from unpopular opinions or ideas.
“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 states.
The University of Chicago is consistently ranked one of the top universities in the world, and also one of the most selective. Only about 8% of the more than 31,000 people who applied to enter the class of 2020 were accepted by the school.
The warning from Chicago stands in sharp contrast to many other American universities that have gone out of their way to coddle students by protecting them from ideas they may find offensive or disturbing.
This is exactly the kind of message students need to hear. Universities exist to expose people to new ideas, and prepare them as freethinkers who are able to process and confront reality. I’ll end with a quote from former UChicago President Hanna Holborn Gray; “education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think. Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.”
There is no “right to be comfortable.” If you don’t want to have to have to flee from opposing ideas, don’t attend a university in the first place.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]