The dean of students of the University of Chicago who warned incoming students in a letter that they should attend a different school is they want “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” is — wait for it — officially part of a network of campus administrators providing safe spaces of the University of Chicago.
“Once here you will discover that one of the University of Chicago’s defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression,” dean of students John Ellison proudly declared in the letter. “Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, without fear of censorship.”
“Our commitment to academic freedom means that 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.”
Ellison bragged that diversity of opinion is a “fundamental strength” of the fancypants private school where the current cost for one year of tuition, fees and room and board is $67,584. (RELATED: Hey Kids! These Fancypants Colleges Cost Over $50,000 Per Year And Offer Robberies GALORE)
The dean then massive rebuked the ongoing trend at various schools to suppress and hide from opposing points of view.
Ellison failed to mention that he is one of 44 safe-space providers listed on a webpage entitled “Safe Space Ally Network” at the University of Chicago’s website.
A related webpage entitled “Safe Space Registration” presents a lengthy questionnaire for potential participants in the support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
The vast multitude of “safe space” questions includes questions about “preferred pronouns.” The set of half a dozen available pronoun choices includes “She, Her, Hers”; “He, Him, His”; “They, Them, Theirs”; “Ze, Zir, Zirs”; “Ze, Zem, Zes”; and “Ze, Hir, Hirs.”
Participants who don’t like any of these six pronoun groups can also choose some other one in a free-form, fill-in box.
Another related University of Chicago webpage is simply entitled “SAFE SPACE” — in all-(large, purple) caps — and festooned with a rainbow of diamonds.
“The Office of LGBTQ Student Life Safe Space program fosters an inclusive environment that challenges oppression and provides support for LGBTQ students,” the page explains.
“Surveys indicate that LGBTQ students who do not feel safe are likely to skip class, or even days of classes, out of fear for personal safety,” the page explains.
“Safe Space creates welcoming physical spaces on campus where LGBTQ students can have a conversation with students, staff and faculty knowing that they have a basic understanding of the challenges these students face in developing their identities,” a bolded section called “Training the UChicago Community” then instructs.
“The visibility of the signs on the doors and in the offices of individuals who have participated in the trainings serves to increase the overall visibility of the ally community on campus, creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ students. The presence of these signs indicates that the University is committed to supporting the LGBTQ community.”
A cursory search of the University of Chicago’s many webpages shows a significant commitment to safe spaces — at least in various nooks and crannies of the campus.
The student life section of the University of Chicago’s webpage boasts a special section dedicated to the “Safe Space: Allies in Training program.” (This program appears to be the same one in which Ellison participates.)
“Safe Space is this idea that you have a haven, a reprieve, as a minoritized person,” LGBTQ student life office director Tobias Spears is quoted as saying on the page. “You can come to a place and feel like this is set up for you.”
“Safe Space is about creating an attitude, a cultural shift, and people who think about you in ways that are nuanced, in ways that respect who you are, that appreciate and nurture who you are,” Spears is also quoted as saying.
A student life page describing associate director for event services Lupe Nieves declares that Nieves “is always thinking about how best to support students during events that touch on controversial topics, how to provide them with a safe space, and how to ensure the events are successful.”
A webpage entitled “UChicago Queer History” observes that the school’s office dedicated to gay, bisexual and transgender students began “offering the Safe Space program” and “creating an ally development training for university community members” in 2014.