As the 2014-2015 academic year winds down, the legacy from this year might be a new low standard in intellectual engagement on college campuses. The proliferation of “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings,” and other efforts to protect students from uncomfortable, inconvenient, or new ideas marks an alarming trend.
Last month, before author Christina Hoff Sommers took the stage to critique modern feminism at Oberlin College, students announced that they had created an alternative “safe space,” for students to visit. Sommers received a similar reaction at Georgetown University, where student protesters held up signs advertising an alternative “safe space” and offering “trigger warnings,” alerts that some content might be traumatizing. Students at some campuses, including the University of Minnesota, are even calling on faculty to use “trigger warnings” for classroom content.
There should be no safe spaces from intellectual thought. University administrators should rethink their policies to encourage more intellectual diversity on campuses.