UMich helps dispute 'myth' that 'safe spaces' aren't necessary

The University of Michigan engineering department promoted an article arguing that the idea that safe spaces are unnecessary is a "myth."

The writer argues that these are places where students can "thrive."

A University of Michigan engineering writer, Kate McAlpine, argues the idea that safe spaces are unnecessary is a “myth” in an opinion editorial promoted on the university’s official website.

In the third part of her six-piece series titled “Six Diversity Myths,” McAlpine set out to prove that safe spaces are more than just a place where minority communities can run away from their problems. 

Rather, they are places where people from these communities can “thrive.”

The University of Michigan featured her explainer on this “myth” on its official engineering department website.

“But safe spaces aren’t just havens in which to escape stereotyping and speak openly about oppressive behaviors without being told, ‘You’re being too sensitive.’ They are places in which the cultures most comfortable to many students and faculty thrive,” McAlpine wrote.

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McAlpine explained that microaggressions, while not meant to be harmful, add up and can feel like mountains to minority communities. She likened this to times when minorities generalize White people.

“By now, most White people have had a dose of what this feels like: It’s the flare of annoyance at the way white men are dismissed as ‘another white guy,’ for instance, or the way ‘white feminism’ essentially means ‘racist feminism,’” McAlpine explained.

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McAlpine went on to assert that many women and minorities feel uncomfortable in the field of engineering, due to the alleged discrimination they face. Because of this, McAlpine argues, women tend to leave the field more often than men.

“Engineering is among the fields that tend to devalue femininity,” McAlpine said. “It’s well known that women leave the field more often than men, with feminine attributes regularly bandied about as insults.”

McAlpine says that “safe spaces” are an essential place for marginalized students and professors to get together and bond over their shared oppression. By doing this, they can fight the feeling of isolation.

When reached for comment by Campus Reform, McAlpine declined.

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