University Nixes “Safe Zones”


The University of Chicago’s incoming class has been informed by letter that there will no longer be “safe zones” in response to the recent cultural war of activism within universities across the nation, officials said.

The university’s decision to neglect the concept of both safe zones and trigger warnings has caused a stir amongst student activists. Yet although this letter was made with the intent to be provoking, it is important to truly understand how the concept of safe zones affects students today.

“I agree with [The University of Chicago] for getting rid of safe spaces because in some respects they are just excuses for avoiding problems,” said 17-year-old Chicago resident and high school Sr. Andrew Mitra. “However, I also believe that some cases are better left not being talked about.”

Mitra said although safe spaces are deemed acceptable in therapeutic circumstances, students are also capable of making decisions in respect to their mental health and have the ability to leave or even avoid attending certain events held by guest speakers.

Though the University of Chicago has received much attention after its recently released letter, the issue of safe spaces has been a cultural issue impacting universities across the nation and has affected college students and applicants.

“It’s refreshing to listen to different views without the fear of being politically correct or otherwise,” said 19-year-old Margaret Siu, a college freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. “I value free speech. I think it’s very humanizing.”

Siu said it is important in a learning environment to be able to perceive the opinions of others and how they affect a student’s understanding of prevalent issues and that in the real world there is no means of censorship or political correctness.

It is important to understand the difference between what we would associate are safe spaces and what they have become; they represent restricting certain speakers and promote unrealistic forms of censorship while labeling it as a safe space, but the lack of reality that has followed suit of what used to be a therapeutic hideaway is what really is dangerous, Siu said.

Understanding the concept of safe spaces and their impact on students is pivotal when it comes to understanding how these organizations affect both colleges and high schools.

“Offensive material is a part of life and personally, I think our students are becoming soft if they can’t handle a speaker that has views opposite to them,” said 17-year-old Durango High School Sr. Isabel Whitehead. “ If you don’t want to go to the speech, don’t go!”

Whitehead said it is understandable to establish a means of protection in which victims of sexual assault or other extreme crimes can turn to, but the term “safe space” should not be used as a cover for groups promoting censorship on campus.

Although this is a cultural battle that will remain prevalent in college campuses across the nation, the University of Chicago’s letter has brought attention to a pressing debate on what is constitutional.

“It makes sense to me why they don’t require them, offensive material is a part of life,” said Whitehead.