Safe Spaces Don't Belong at College Campuses

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After last week’s discussion, where I briefly touched on “safe spaces,” I thought I would go more in depth on this week’s topic. So what is a safe space? Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains a safe space, which is most prevalent on college campuses, is a place where possibly dangerous ideas, beliefs, conversations, or conflicts don’t exist. The true meaning of a safe space is to provide safety on college campuses, from instances like robbery or sexual harassment. However, most viewpoints on safe spaces point to the Merriam-Webster definition. Anyone who has an opinion that is “offensive” or “abusive” is not welcome. College campuses, as I mentioned, have become the safe haven for these easily triggered individuals. So what’s the problem? There’s no limit to what should qualify as a safe space. For example, students as Occidental College in Los Angeles (go figure) went to the college’s administration, and demanded the American flag be taken down. Their reason? Because the “violence” associated with the American flag hurt their feelings, as well as making them feel endangered. Once these colleges and universities start removing anything considered “offensive,” there’s no stopping. Who’s to say what could or couldn’t be deemed inappropriate or uncomfortable, and thereby, remove it?

The issue many conservative students (and even some professors) are facing is the supposed need for safe spaces. No one knows what could be assumed as offensive, so conservative/libertarian students are terrified to speak their mind. Look at instances where conservative students were physically or verbally attacked because of these “safe space lovers.” I mentioned this in my last blog, but the student at UC Berkley, who got punched just for stating what he believed. Even for me, when the whole Jussie Smollett situation occurred, no one would discuss what happened. Both sides, Republican and Democrat, felt afraid of saying what we thought. Once my professor said we could speak openly, without the need for harsh exchanges, everyone spoke what they thought. Isn’t that sad? People on both sides are afraid to speak their mind because the fear of being ostracized and attacked is overwhelming.

Students across the United States are being led to believe that their opinion is so special, they deserve some sort of special “privilege” (or entitlement) by having these safe spaces. In actuality, colleges are supposed to be places of higher learning. Students who enter universities are supposed to be challenged, discover new opinions, and learn who they are and what they genuinely believe in. Instead, students are having their hands held by college administration, so they are not possibly offended by opposing viewpoints. What these students actually learn is intolerance for those who oppose their ideologies. As Milo Yiannopoulos explains, anyone who is not capable of sharing opposing ideologies doesn’t belong on a college campus, and those who encourage this are disappointing this generation, and generations to come.

Don’t get me wrong. I do wish the true definition of safe spaces was true. But in today’s society, students feel more of a need to be safe from disparate ideologies. Van Jones, the former adviser to Barack Obama, explained in a speech at the University of Chicago the danger of safe spaces. Jones explained, which I mentioned earlier, that having safe spaces defeats the purpose of college. College students need to be offended, so they learn how to defend what they believe in. Ben Shapiro, a conservative commentator, spoke in Congress almost the exact thing that Van Jones spoke about. What makes this country so great, as Shapiro stated, is the ability we have to debate one another on topics we don’t agree on. College campuses providing safe spaces for students who MAY get easily offended doesn’t stimulate intellectual and personal growth; instead, this leads to the “dumbing down” of a generation. Rather than thinking about facts or what someone else thinks, they will find the first chance of being offended to shut down their opponent. Jordan Peterson, who I mentioned in my last discussion, was asked by a feminist interviewer why his freedom of speech should surpass someone else’s right not to be offended. His response left her speechless. Dr. Peterson explained that in order to think and learn the truth, you have to risk being offensive. While the truth may hurt, at the same time, it opens the doors to new knowledge.

What people don’t realize is that censoring free speech is one step closer to dictatorship. Using the excuse of censoring harmful speech takes us a step closer to reaching dictatorship, where no opinions other than the government’s matter. And this is exactly the problem! These students have been brainwashed to believe that they are fighting for equal rights and free speech, when in reality, they’re leading us into silence and control.

In my personal opinion, college is meant to be a place of higher learning. Not only are we receiving an education, but we are learning who we are and what our place is in this world. Having these safe spaces minimizing intellectual stimulation and personal growth prevents this. From my Entitlement blog post, which correlates well with safe spaces, individuals who grow up with everything being done their way are more unsatisfied with life. When we are challenged in what we believe, it gives us a greater purpose in life. If you cannot cope with others’ ideas, you are leading this great country into a dictatorship. Those part of Generation Z (born 1995 – 2010) are too sensitive. Emotions are more important than the truth and facts.

In conclusion, safe spaces DO NOT belong on college campuses, and college administration needs to realize this. Safe spaces don’t equal fair comment or free speech, it shuts down free speech with this idea we could be offending someone. Being in a university means being a grown up: dealing with problems like an adult, defending your choices, and not having to be told what to believe in or that the “world is against you.” Growing your knowledge with contemporary ideas and beliefs is a key aspect of college life. If you are not prepared to do so, then go home, because you have no place being in this academic setting.
Check out these websites for further explanation/proof:
· https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/safe%20space
· https://www.chronicle.com/article/College-Campuses-Should-Not-Be/245505
· https://www.huffpost.com/entry/safe-spaces-college-intolerant_b_58d957a6e4b02a2eaab66ccf
· https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K35L_jH1BwA
· https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpRpzoEJcm0
· https://www.statepress.com/article/2018/01/spopinion-safe-spaces-prohibit-growth-on-university-campuses

P.S. This month is Autism Awareness, and being a sister to a wonderful, autistic brother, this month is especially important to me. Please be mindful of those who don't see the world in the way we do.

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