Michelle Obama to deliver speech at Oberlin College, no ‘safe spaces’ in the works

Kaitlyn Schallhorn
Former Reporter

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  • As the winner of a White House competition, Oberlin College will host First Lady Michelle Obama during their commencement at the end of May.
  • Obama will give an address during the commencement.
  • Liberal feminists at the college protested a recent talk by Christina Hoff Sommers; no such protest is in the work for the First Lady.
  • While a visit to Oberlin College from an equity feminist prompted protests, safe spaces, and ridicule, the news that First Lady Michelle Obama will give a commencement speech at the liberal arts school has been met with excitement by most.

    The private school in Ohio won a video contest held by the White House in which student-produced videos revealed how the school creates college immersion experiences for high schoolers, according to a press release.

    The video which propelled Oberlin to victory, according to Cleveland.com, was produced by Patrick Gilfether, a senior at the school. His final product depicted Oberlin students involved with the school’s Ninde Scholars Program—a program that gives Oberlin students the opportunity to match with students in nearby public high schools to provide them with support and collegiate services.

    Oberlin officials were notified that the school had won on April 20—the day before Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians (OCRL) hosted venerable scholar and equity feminist Christina Hoff Sommers to campus to speak on modern feminism. The event prompted swift condemnation from liberal feminists on campus who protested the event, labeled Sommers as “misogynistic” and a “rape-denier,” and encouraged their peers to retreat to a “ safe space” on campus instead of attend the event.

    Students also hung posters on campus that labeled their peers who belong to OCRL as “perpetuating rape culture.”

    University officials did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment on if there would be similar “safe spaces” offered to students during Obama’s address to be given on May 25.

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a non-profit organization that serves as a watchdog for civil liberties in academia, has given Oberlin an overall “yellow light” rating of its speech codes.

    The First Lady will also deliver commencement addresses at Tuskegee University in Alabama and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Preparatory High School (King College Prep) in Ill.,—the recipient of the FAFSA Completion Challenge.

    The founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, will also give a commencement speech.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn



    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Former Reporter

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, Kaitlyn was a reporter at Red Alert Politics and covered business and restaurants for the Alexandria Times.  

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