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Do you feel that the current trend in universities being/having a "safe space" is detrimental or beneficial to free speech and the mission of a university to teach students all subjects, safe or not?

TheMiddleWay 8 June 3

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15 comments

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1

I don't even like atheists who always have to attack religion. My life isn't defined by what I don't believe in and we have to live with people we don't agree with. The need to censor or annihilate opposing views will never be productive

2

Absolutely. The moment we stop allowing others to have opinions that differ to ours, we become caricatures of ourselves. The reason we keep losing elections to fascists is that we can't even cope with others who disagree with "us."

1

"Safe spaces" are detrimental to free speech. Just because people are offended, that does not make them right. And sometimes they need to be offended to grow as a person. One of the reasons that atheism exists is because we were allowed to "offend" believers by saying, we don't believe. It allowed us to break away, and allowed our societies to grow and change.

Atheists, free thinkers, liberals, etc. need to have their ideas challenged just as much as those who are conservative and are protecting the status quo. Without that challenge, bad ideas take root, even in those who claim to be skeptics and scientists. You have a person who claims to not believe in god, because there isn't enough evidence, but at the same time is an anti-vaxxer, even though there are mountains of data to show the error of that belief.

As one of my friends put it - The far Right (conservatives) want a Mad Max style world - with absolutely no controls, and the far Left (liberals/progressives) want a 1984 style world - with thought police. There has to be an answer that resides somewhere in the middle of those two options.

1

I think a meditation area or other place is a good idea, but college (and life) is about challenging yourself, your beliefs...

If your beliefs cannot withstand challenge, that's what churches are for

3

Historically, Universities have been havens for free speech and the free expression of new, unpopular and/or controversial ideas. The idea that people need to have safe spaces to shelter themselves from something that they don't agree with is problematic because it prevents the free flow of ideas.

2

Yes. That is why universities have general education requirements in the first two years -- to expose students to thoughts and subjects in a variety of areas which they might not seek on their own. Does not "safe space" mean space where one is safe from attack and undue pressure?

That. But also the notion that a university environment shouldn't broach some topics for it can trigger people who are sensitive to that topic. So rape, slavery, pedophilia, murder... all could "trigger" some person and thus should not be discussed.

God forbid the person that is triggered excuse themselves from that class! No, rather, the whole class has to excuse themselves for the triggered person! 😟

@TheMiddleWay The only reason that a university would avoid such topics would be a university culture which varies greatly from the proclaimed ideal of "liberal arts."

4

Great question.

I do believe that safe spaces are provided for students to their detriment. Education faculties are designed to educate and to protect students to some extent. However, part of education is to also provide students with the tools to help them cope and survive in the real world.

Observational studies are showing higher levels of anxiety, in young people, related to overprotective or helicopter parenting. The skills most lacking are problem solving and conflict resolution, which makes sense if there is no requirement to learn how to do so on one's own. I believe it's necessary to learn coping strategies at a young age.

No western constitution guarantees its citizens a life free from offense. To live, is to sometimes be offended. Hate speech and racism are not acceptable, but a difference of opinion should not fall under this category. One can be intolerant of certain behaviour or speech, and also manage the discomfort they bring. Safe spaces, in this case, may be counterproductive to learning resiliency, as well how to manage uncomfortable emotions. These are necessary life skills.

3

Somehow free speech is being challenged in schools these days. If they do not like the person they prevent them from speaking.

2

As long as it does not include hate speech. Hate speech is far more dangerous than yelling FIRE in a theater, and that is not allowed.

I agree in principle but that is being abused in practice. For example, if I want to promote that illegal immigrants should not be allowed in the country, it's far too easy for me to get shut down under the premise of "hate speech". Or if I don't agree with some aspect of LBGTQ policy, again, my mere disagreement with the LBGTQ crowd can be shut down as "hate speech"

Personally, I think universities ought to give wide latitude here. After all, if someone comes in promoting "Kill all dolphins, babies, and democrats!", that is good fodder for next's days class on why we should or shouldn't do those things.

5

"You want to be safe - stay home with your mom" - Jordon Peterson on safe spaces.

Source:

Don't agree with everything JP has to say, but he is spot on in this video... in particular the Hansel and Gretel analogy at the end!

5

Universities should be “safe” as in no violent crime.

Providing spaces safe from hurt feelings is obscene. It demonstrates to me how far Universities will go to get money out of people who have no business going to college. These Universities don’t push kids to grow up out of fear they will drop out and stop giving the school money. They deliberately confuse weakness and kindness.

That's a good point about the profit margin. Since Uni's are run more and more under a business model, the more people they can attract, the more profits they can acquire. And clearly, if you are too afraid of going out into the real world but a uni offers a "safe space", you won't be any more ready after college, but as far as the Uni is concerned, they got what was important out of your: your money!

4

Depends on what it is. If it's a place where one can, for example, discuss being LGBTQ or atheist or what have you without fear of abuse, then it's good. Far too often, the public sphere fails in that regard.

If it's one of those adult daycare kind of places where people can hide from the big, bad world with their crayons and puppies, then, no. We don't need that kind of thing anywhere. All it does is cause regression into childhood.

This is probably the one thing wherein I agree with conservatives-- universities should not be sanitised like this. It's where you go to be challenged, not coddled.

5

Detrimental. Life does not have safe spaces and trigger warnings. People will never learn and grow if they don't step out of their own echo chambers.

1

Detrimental....where are people going to discuss/debate things to find a middle ground and get along . All you have now is two sides shouting to be the loudest with no where to sit down and talk .

Or worse: the one side that shouts "hate speech" the loudest is the one that gets to stay; the other is forced to leave! 😉

4

I believe it's bullshit.

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