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University Of Chicago Tells Freshmen There Will Be No ‘Safe Spaces’
University of Chicago class of 2020, get ready for a college experience filled with debate, discussion — and possibly discomfort.
As colleges across the country wrestle with balancing academic freedom and open discourse with student health and safety, University of Chicago Dean of Students John Ellison told incoming freshmen in a letter what they should expect on campus.
"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," the letter said.
Trigger warnings — used to alert students of sensitive material that might be uncomfortable, offensive and traumatic to them, such as discussions about race and sexual assault — are becoming more widely used by universities across the country. Similarly, safe spaces are popping up on campuses to shelter students from speakers and topics that might make them feel uncomfortable.
In a welcome letter to freshmen, the College made clear that it does not condone safe spaces or trigger warnings: pic.twitter.com/9ep3n0ZbgV
— The Chicago Maroon (@ChicagoMaroon) August 24, 2016
In 2014, after a debate over sexual assault on campus was scheduled, students at Brown University organized a safe space on campus with counselors, bubbles, Play-Doh and pillows. The space was designed to give students who might find the discussion troubling a place to recuperate, The New York Times reported.
Fostering the free exchange of ideas helps build a welcoming campus, Ellison told University of Chicago students in the letter, which accompanied a book titled "Academic Freedom and the Modern University: The Experience of the University of Chicago" by John Boyer, a university dean and professor, a university spokesman said.
The letter included a link to a university report issued by a committee established in 2015 to articulate the university's policy on freedom of expression.
"It is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive," the report states. "Although the University greatly values civility, and although all members of the University community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community."
The report pointed out the university's long history of commitment to freedom of expression and debate, outlining what past university presidents had said about protecting free speech. Former President Hanna Holborn Gray was quoted in the report saying, "Education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think. Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom."
In a welcoming letter last fall to all students and faculty, university President Robert Zimmer touched on the legacy of the university's values.
"Perhaps the most distinctive attribute of the University in its 125 years has been its deep and unwavering commitment to open discourse, free expression, and a singular focus on rigorous inquiry. The founders and first faculty members here, including President William Rainey Harper, viewed free expression as an essential basis for an institution where strength of ideas, not social standing or other considerations, would determine success in education and research," Zimmer said in the letter.
The debate over freedom of expression has played out at other universities in the Chicago area and across the country.
Earlier this month, DePaul University denied a request to have conservative commentator Ben Shapiro give a speech at the university, citing security concerns. And in May, a protest disrupted and forced the cancellation of an appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative blogger with Breitbart News Network.
In a statement to the Tribune earlier this month about the Shapiro cancellation, DePaul spokeswoman Carol Hughes said: "DePaul University's Office of Public Safety determined, after observing events which took place when Mr. Shapiro spoke elsewhere, that it was not in a position to provide the type of security that would be required to properly host this event at this time."
Shapiro is a columnist and radio commentator whose books include "Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth." Videos on social media show Shapiro discrediting the Black Lives Matter movement. His talks have sparked protests on college campuses.
In 2014, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice backed out of giving the commencement speech at Rutgers University after student protests centered around her involvement in the Iraq War during the George W. Bush administration.
Last year, a Northwestern University professor who wrote a controversial essay on how colleges police faculty-student relationships sparked a national debate over academic and sexual freedom. After the publication of the essay by communications professor Laura Kipnis, two students filed complaints claiming that Kipnis created a "chilling effect" on their ability to report sexual misconduct.
Kipnis was cleared after a nearly three-month investigation for complaints that she violated the federal Title IX law against gender discrimination with her essay "Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe." In the essay, Kipnis, an author and film professor, made clear that sexual abusers should be punished but also chided the university for its ban on faculty members dating students, calling it the "Great Prohibition" and arguing that such policies treat students as vulnerable children.
©2016 the Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
13 Marines at Camp Pendleton charged with crimes related to smuggling of undocumented immigrants from Mexico
Thirteen Marines have been formally charged for their alleged roles in a human smuggling ring, according to a press release from 1st Marine Division released on Friday.
The Marines face military court proceedings on various charges, from "alleged transporting and/or conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants" to larceny, perjury, distribution of drugs, and failure to obey an order. "They remain innocent until proven guilty," said spokeswoman Maj. Kendra Motz.
The recruiting commercials for the Army Reserve proclaim "one weekend each month," but the real-life Army Reserve might as well say "hold my beer."
That's because the weekend "recruiting hook" — as it's called in a leaked document compiled by Army personnel for the new chief of staff — reveal that it's, well, kinda bullshit.
When they're not activated or deployed, most reservists and guardsmen spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year training, according to the Army recruiting website. But that claim doesn't seem to square with reality.
"The Army Reserve is cashing in on uncompensated sacrifices of its Soldiers on a scale that must be in the tens of millions of dollars, and that is a violation of trust, stewardship, and the Army Values," one Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, who also complained that his battalion commander "demanded" that he be available at all times, told members of an Army Transition Team earlier this year.
According to an internal Army document, soldiers feel that the service's overwhelming focus on readiness is wearing down the force, and leading some unit leaders to fudge the truth on their unit's readiness.
"Soldiers in all three Army Components assess themselves and their unit as less ready to perform their wartime mission, despite an increased focus on readiness," reads the document, which was put together by the Army Transition Team for new Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and obtained by Task & Purpose. "The drive to attain the highest levels of readiness has led some unit leaders to inaccurately report readiness."
Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, who served as the director of the transition team, said in the document's opening that though the surveys conducted are not scientific, the feedback "is honest and emblematic of the force as a whole taken from seven installations and over 400 respondents."
Those surveyed were asked to weigh in on four questions — one of which being what the Army isn't doing right. One of the themes that emerged from the answers is that "[r]eadiness demands are breaking the force."
The Army thinks China will surpass Russia by 2028. Here is how the service is planning to take them on.
If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention in the last few years, you know that the Pentagon has been zeroing in on the threat that China and Russia pose, and the future battles it anticipates.
The Army has followed suit, pushing to modernize its force to be ready for whatever comes its way. As part of its modernization, the Army adopted the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, which serves as the Army's main war-fighting doctrine and lays the groundwork for how the force will fight near-peer threats like Russia and China across land, air, sea, cyber, and space.
But in an internal document obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army Transition Team for the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, argues that China poses a more immediate threat than Russia, so the Army needs make the Asia-Pacific region its priority while deploying "minimal current conventional forces" in Europe to deter Russia.
In leaked documents, Army family reports waiting weeks to have gas line and roof leaks fixed in on-base housing
As the saying goes, you recruit the soldier, but you retain the family.
And according to internal documents obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army still has substantial work to do in addressing families' concerns.