University of Chicago to Freshmen: No ‘Trigger Warnings,’ ‘Safe Spaces’

The University of Chicago is getting attention for bucking some of the growing trends on college campuses by sending a letter to this year’s incoming freshmen that says the school doesn’t do “trigger warnings” or “safe spaces.” Dean of Students John Ellison wrote in the letter, “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.” Trigger warnings alert students to material that might be uncomfortable, offensive or traumatic to them, such as on sexual assault or race, and safe spaces are designed to protect students from certain speakers and topics. Law professor Geoffrey Stone, chairman of the school’s Committee on Freedom of Expression, told the Chicago Tribune that it doesn’t help prepare students for the real world to shield them from anything unpleasant to them. He explained, “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.”

Well done, University of Chicago.