by William Teach | March 23, 2015 8:10 am
Over at the NY Times, Judith Shulevitz runs an op-ed entitled In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas, which is about how colleges and college kids do all they can to, well, hide from scary ideas. The op-ed is written “softly”, since it goes against the grain of the hardcore Liberalism typically on display at the NY Times. It starts off with a discussion on an incident at Brown University, where many students and administrators were Very Concerned over a debate
So when she heard last fall that a student group had organized a debate about campus sexual assault between Jessica Valenti, the founder of feministing.com, and Wendy McElroy, a libertarian, and that Ms. McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture,” Ms. Byron was alarmed. “Bringing in a speaker like that could serve to invalidate people’s experiences,” she told me. It could be “damaging.”
Ms. Byron and some fellow task force members secured a meeting with administrators. Not long after, Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, announced that the university would hold a simultaneous, competing talk to provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.” Meanwhile, student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.
The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.
Rape and sexual assault are certainly not anything to joke about (and I’ll avoid mentioning that college campuses are hotbeds of liberalism, which seem to have lots of problems with rape and sexual assault). Yet, this is just one example of Leftists going into Weepy Mode, acting like hothouse flowers at the mere drop of a divergent opinion, or even the possibility of a different opinion. Most will refuse to even listen to the opinion before going into weepiness and outrage.
Safe spaces are an expression of the conviction, increasingly prevalent among college students, that their schools should keep them from being “bombarded” by discomfiting or distressing viewpoints. Think of the safe space as the live-action version of the better-known trigger warning, a notice put on top of a syllabus or an assigned reading to alert students to the presence of potentially disturbing material.
Here’s the part that truly peeked my interest in the opinion piece
I’m old enough to remember a time when college students objected to providing a platform to certain speakers because they were deemed politically unacceptable. Now students worry whether acts of speech or pieces of writing may put them in emotional peril. Two weeks ago, students at Northwestern University marched to protest an article by Laura Kipnis, a professor in the university’s School of Communication. Professor Kipnis had criticized — O.K., ridiculed — what she called the sexual paranoia pervading campus life.
I’m old enough to remember a time when college students would either argue back with those who are “politically unacceptable”, or simply refuse to attend, rather than shutting down debate. When ideas and thought weren’t cause for breaking down into “emotional peril”, sending supposed adults into rooms more akin to pre-school.
Nowadays, these same college students, who will brutally attack anyone on social media in a fanatical, brutal, and often disgusting manner, cannot face the real world, and need their “safe spaces” to avoid emotional distress. Wait till they get into the real Real World, and learn that no one cares about their weepiness, and to just do their job or resign. Welcome to the adulthood.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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