What does “safe space” actually mean?

September 9, 2016

“Few concepts in academe have been dissected, debated, mocked, and defended in recent months as much as the ‘safe space,’” write Sarah Brown and Katherine Mangan for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The authors argue that rather than focusing on what “safe spaces” look like in practice, many commentators have framed these spaces within polarized terms, seeing them either as “essential sanctuaries for members of historically marginalized groups” or as the reflection of a “troubling desire to escape the rigorous intellectual inquiry that college should be all about.” The authors explore a number of recent debates invoking the concept of safe space, and ultimately call for a more nuanced understanding of the contexts in which it appears. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)