Elite university to students: No trigger warnings or safe spaces

Are college students in need of protection from topics that may trigger bad memories? Do they need safe spaces where they can find other like-minded students?

The University of Chicago doesn’t think so and sent a letter to incoming freshmen telling them so. The letter has become a social media hit, with many people lamenting today’s students are hot house flowers who cannot tolerate direct sunlight.

The letter to freshmen states: “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.”

Not everyone on social media is cheering the university's stand. A college professor counters, "The Chicago letter reeks of arrogance, of a sense of entitlement, of an exclusionary mindset; in other words, the very things it seeks to inveigh against. It's not about academic freedom, it's about power. Know your place, and acknowledge ours, it tells the students. We'll be the judge of what you need to know and how you need to know it."

To read more on this debate, go to the AJC Get Schooled blog.