“Safe spaces” are the hot new thing on college campuses. And since the last hot new thing on college campuses was a deplorably racist movement to boycott Israeli businesses, what could possibly go wrong?
No but don’t worry guys, this hot new thing is like, totally all about love and inclusivity and intersectionality and sensitivity and stuff. A safe space is where no one has to feel bad, ever. According to the activism group Advocates for Youth, a “safe space” is
“a place where any young person can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwanted, or unsafe on account of biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, race/ethnicity, cultural background, age, or physical and mental ability.”
Sounds great, right? So surely it’s no surprise that colleges all over America — from Columbia, to Yale, to the University of California, Berkeley — are setting up safe spaces on campus. Who wouldn’t want to go to a school where everyone feels safe and included and cuddled and snuggly? But then, if you need a safe space, that means you’re being kept safe from something. As in, there are some things — some people — who don’t get allowed into safe spaces. Which raises the question: who’s not included in an all-inclusive space? For whom, exactly, are college campuses not so safe?
(Profanity warning for video.)
Well, they’re not safe for conservatives, that’s for sure. They’re not safe for George Will or Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Tim Stanley, all of whom where chased out of speaking engagements at major universities because their views made students feel threatened. In fact, unsavory opinions of any kind are definitely not allowed in safe spaces. One student at Brown recently explained that she retreated to a safe space during an on-campus debate because she was getting “bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs.” That’s why colleges need safe spaces to begin with: so none of those precious left-wing butterflies has to expose his fragile ideology to the harsh, insensitive light of reality.
So if you’re to the right of center — whoops, sorry. College campuses aren’t safe for you. You don’t get to be part of the safe space if you’re critical of Islam, skeptical about phony rape statistics, or uncomfortable with abortion (don’t even get me started on fetuses. Safe spaces are definitely not safe for fetuses). People with unapproved opinions don’t get coverage under the “safe space” plan — actually, they get verbally abused. Or kicked off of the school newspaper. Or beaten up by professors. Literally. That happened at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to an anti-abortion protestor. That’s just how safe they are over there at UCSB!
And college campuses are definitely not safe for straight men, those abhorred super-villains of the millennial mythos. A straight man in college can be summoned at any time without warning (or evidence) before a nightmarishly Kafkaesque tribunal of imperious elders, to suffer the penalty for a horrific rape he did not commit. This can lead to expulsion from his dorm and academic probation, as it did for Kevin Parisi at Drew University. Or it can mean long-term suspension and damning marks on his permanent record, as it did for Drew Sterrett at the University of Michigan. So no, straight men (you patriarchal scum), college is not safe for you.
And of course, a radically progressive college campus is not a safe space for Jewish kids. This one is as depressingly predictable as it is crushingly tragic: at what time, in the history of ever, has a safe space been safe for Jews? Well not this time, that’s for sure. At UC Berkeley, a veritable haven of “safe spaces,” swastikas and hate-scrawls such as “Kill all the Jews” are becoming a mainstay of sidewalk graffiti.
And at UCLA — where “safe spaces” abound — a candidate for student government was recently asked the following question in an interview: “Given that you’re very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?” After the candidate left the room, her interviewers admitted that “she’s qualified,” but they wondered whether they could really feel comfortable (or safe) with a person of “her affiliations.” Like the perniciously festering pestilence of the human soul that it is, antisemitism is steadily creeping into the bones and marrow of American academia. Actually, antisemitic bile seems to be right at home at UCLA and UC Berkeley. They are safe spaces, after all.
So actually, the question seems to be, who is safe in a safe space? Well, at Brown, students recently opened a safe space to protect themselves from the horror of hearing someone question “rape culture.” The place was a preschooler’s dream, complete with “cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies.” About twenty-four students used it. About 0.38% of Brown’s student body felt safe in that safe space.
So when we say “safe space,” it turns out what we really mean is a place for tiny clusters of radical progressives to act like spoiled children (but I repeat myself). Meanwhile, as campuses everywhere are submerged beneath a tidal wave of bigotry and intolerance under the triumphant banner of progressive ideology — as students are subjected to abhorrent discrimination for being male, or conservative, or Jewish — at least we can be confident that two or three dozen leftists will have Play-Doh to play with and cuddly puppies to watch. At the age of 22. And doesn’t that just make you feel all nice and safe?
image illustration via tumblr