You won't find safe spaces here, UC dean tells freshmen

One college administrator has taken a bold stance against the demise of free speech on America’s campuses, warning newly admitted students that they will find no “safe spaces” at his school.

John Ellison, Dean of Students for the College at the University of Chicago, welcomed students to campus with a warning, but not the kind typically issued at a university.

[RELATED: Univ. of Chicago held up as national model for free speech]

“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 writes in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Intellectual Takeout.

Indeed, UC has been praised for its stance on free speech ever since a faculty committee released a commitment to freedom of expression last year, a policy that has since been adopted by several other schools.

Accordingly, Ellison touted UC’s free speech policy as one of its “defining characteristics,” saying this is “captured in the university’s faculty report on freedom of expression.”

[RELATED: Chicago prof outlines steps to safeguard free speech on campus]

“Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others,” he continues. “You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement.”

Acknowledging that “at times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort,” Ellison nonetheless insists that “fostering the free exchange of ideas reinforces a related university priority—building a campus that welcomes people of all backgrounds.”

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