'via Blog this'
College is the place where young people are supposed to be introduced to ideas and concepts that are not theirs, dangerous, daring or threatening as they may be, and to inspect them, investigate them, interrogate them, to learn from them. College is the place where young people are supposed to think critically and creatively about the world they live in. Bravo to the University of Chicago for refusing to nurse-maid their students from ideas and issues. Treating young adults like children will not make them good citizens prepared for the adulthood. The problem is less the idealized notion of "safe places", those sectors of the university where one may discuss in clarity and detail issues, personal and political and otherwise intellectual than it is a method of shutting down debate on campus. Student newspapers have gotten into problems with students, faculty and administrations all over the country for publishing views that are contrary to whatever the local political thinking might be.
At UCSD, where I graduated in 1981, the campus humor magazine had their funding suspended because they made fun of "safety zones" and "triggers" and such; needless to say the ACLU is suing the university for suppression of free speech. What is happening on campuses in terms of a growing intolerance of views that are contrary or contrary to whatever the conventional wisdom may be is coming from the academic Left , an over theorized portion of the progressive community that has become so invested in identity politics that they've tossed out the great tradition of self criticism and debate, of challenging their theorems against actual material circumstances on the ground and have lost sight , as well, that the point was bringing the hurt, the oppressed, the marginalized, the maligned, the exploited, the forgotten, into the mainstream, as participants in the larger discussions , exchanges and debates that provides us with greater comprehension of life as it occurs outside the Academy.
I understand the need for accommodation for those with needs traditional methods cannot address, but the trend has been to limit discussion on issues, not expand them. There comes a time when one, special issues and triggers or not, will have to face an unfiltered presentation of views that challenge them and may well cause them discomfort. As much as I expect decorum and civility in a debate, one will be expected to shore up their resources and have responses as strong stated and vetted as anything an aggressive counter view can offer. What concerns me is that there is a trend to shut down things that groups of students find objectionable on their campus and in their classes, and this is not a good thing.