BEDA Day 25: Why I’m against University of Chicago’s decision

Earlier today or late yesterday, the University of Chicago’s Dean said that they will not provide safe spaces and trigger warnings for its students. This is to promote free thinking, inclusion of all ideas, and free speech.

I’m all about free speech (to a degree, hate speech should not be promoted) and free thinking and inclusion, but to not provide safe spaces and trigger warnings is problematic.

For one, these two things are not there solely for “special snowflakes”to use when they feel offended by the smallest things.

Safe spaces and trigger warnings are there for students who feel oppressed, mentally not okay or targeted, to use as an aid. For those with depression and anxiety or are mentally not healthy, trigger warnings are especially necessary. If the content showed in class will/might make a person suffer a panic attack, think of traumatizing experiences, or cry, then what good does that do? For veterans, if showing a clip about the war in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other place will trigger their PTSD, what’s the good? You’re making them suffer when they don’t have to. For a student who has either witnessed suicide, or has a friend who has committed suicide, then discussing suicide rates or discussing the topic will only make them think about their traumatic experience.

Safe spaces are places where students who feel targeted can eat lunch, take a nap, study or do whatever without constantly being on the lookout for hate and abuse. If a LGBTQ+ student is getting shit because of their gender or sexual orientation, why can’t they have a place to be themselves? If a POC is being targeted for their skin colour, why don’t they deserve a place to call home while at school? By not providing safe spaces, you’re giving their bullies the upper hand.

Obviously, safe spaces and trigger warnings aren’t the solution. They’re merely stepping stones to better mental health counselling and better education that deals with issues regarding oppression. More funding needs to be allocated to these issues, and less for building a new stadium or hiring a famous professor when there are already numerous teaching the same subject.

-EVA

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