University of Chicago again denies students safe spaces and protection from triggering

University of Chicago again denies students safe spaces and protection from triggering
The University of Chicago dean of students issued a welcome letter to freshmen that included statements denying safe spaces, and promoting free expression. (Getty Images)

The University of Chicago’s Dean of Students Dr. John “Jay” Ellison wrote a letter to incoming freshmen that said students would not be insulated from differing ideas, nor would they be allowed to restrict the speech of other students.

According to Campus Reform, Ellison told the class of 2021 that one of UChicago’s defining characteristics is its commitment to “academic freedom” and “free expression.” Ellison wrote UChicago insists on continuing this tradition.

“At the University of Chicago, we insist that all faculty and students are free to debate, disagree, and argue, without fear of being silenced,” Elllison wrote.

Ellison cast “productive debate,” and “full freedom of expression” as the “scholarly mission of a real university.” Ellison wrote that at UChicago, core beliefs would be tested, and sharpened:

“From its founding in 1890, the university has been a place of intense and productive debate and discussion, undertaken with the conviction that full freedom of expression and analysis is crucial to the cultural identity and scholarly mission of a real university. Because our campus is a place that respects unique perspectives and powerful ideas, it is also a place where opinions and even core beliefs will be tested, sharpened, and subjected to rigorous academic analysis. What we offer you is the opportunity to learn and challenge yourself in a variety of contexts: In the classroom, discussion sessions, the lab, and even in the social spaces and dining hall of your residence hall.”

This is the second time Ellison told incoming students that UChicago will not participate in the ideological intolerance seen at other universities.

Writing to the class of 2020 in August of last year, Ellison told freshmen “we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”

UChicago has so far retained this stance, even in the face of social justice students attempting to force their beliefs on the faculty and student body. In May, students made a list of 50 demands for the UChicago staff and faculty that included segregated housing, more faculty of color, and courses on the “Islamic golden age.”

According to College Fix in June, UChicago officials said they were “reviewing and continuing dialogue” on the matter.

The University of Chicago’s stance on intellectual debate and ideological diversity is in stark contrast to many other universities and colleges that have allowed social justice advocates to silence and restrict other students.

At Evergreen State College in Washington, social justice warrior students have attacked other students for opposing them, and patrol the campus with bats and batons. During a testimony to the board of trustees, one Evergreen student said she was barred from speaking during meetings because she was white.

Students at the University of California Santa Cruz took over a building in the name of “reclamation” for black students, and threatened to take over more unless a list of demands were met. The university administrators caved to the demands after three days, prompting the students to make further demands.

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