US dean’s letter to incoming students sparks international debate on free speech, safe spaces

August 30, 2016

The debate around safe spaces, trigger warnings, and campus protests has intensified following the publication of a letter to incoming students by a University of Chicago executive. Students entering the school recently received a personal email from uChicago Dean of Students John Ellison stating that the school’s “commitment to academic freedom” means that it “will not condone the creation of intellectual safe spaces where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.” The letter has received praise from many who see it as a defense of academic freedom and the celebration of debate, while others have deemed the letter to be a “very callous” denial of the challenges faced by marginalized groups and individuals who have experienced trauma. Inside Higher Ed | Chronicle of Higher Education