News & Politics

Student Raises Hand, Accused of Violating 'Safe Space'

We’re not quite at peak idiocy when looking at life on university campuses in 2016. But we’re getting damn close.

A student at Edinburgh University was threatened with being thrown out of a meeting because she raised her hand in a “safe space.”

The Telegraph:

Imogen Wilson, the vice-president for academic affairs at Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA), spoke out against safe space rules becoming “a tool for the hard left to use when they disagree with people”, following the incident last week.

Ms Wilson, 22, was subject to a “safe space complaint” over her supposedly “inappropriate hand gestures” during a student council meeting.

According to the association’s rules, student council meetings should be held in a “safe space environment”, defined as “a space which is welcoming and safe and includes the prohibition of discriminatory language and actions”.

This includes “refraining from hand gestures which denote disagreement”, or “in any other way indicating disagreement with a point or points being made”.

“Disagreements should only be evident through the normal course of debate,” it says.

In other words, if you look cross-eyed at some dufus making a stupid argument, you can be called out for it and voted out of the meeting.

And I’ll bet they’d vote you out if “during the normal course of debate” you called the dufus an idiot anyway.

Ms Wilson said she raised her arms in disagreement after being accused by another speaker of failing to respond to an open letter, despite in fact having made efforts to contact the letter’s authors.

A complaint was made against Ms Wilson, who was then subjected to a vote on whether she should be removed from the room.

Although the vote went in her favour, with 18 people voting to remove her and 33 voting for her to be allowed to remain, she was later threatened with another complaint after shaking her head while someone was speaking.

Ms Wilson said she believed that safe space rules banning gestures of disagreement, which were drawn up under the tenure of previous sabbatical officers, were “a little extreme” and had been used as a “political” tool against her after she spoke out against anti-Semitism.

Don’t cry too much for this “victim.” She also believes in “safe spaces”:

“I totally do believe in safe space and the principles behind it,” she told the Telegraph. “It’s supposed to enhance free speech and not shut it down, and give everyone a chance to feel like they can contribute.

“Safe space is essential for us to have a debate where everyone can speak, but it can’t become a tool for the hard left to use when they disagree with people.”

Earth to Ms. Wilson: The entire purpose of free speech is to give both the hard left and the hard right the ability to speak their mind even if it makes people nervous or violates their “safe space.” You don’t need a “safe space” if you have free speech, ninny.

And what would an incident like this be without a double standard from the other side:

She said: “At that meeting we were discussing BDS, the movement to boycott Israel. I made a long and passionate speech against us subscribing to this, on the basis it encourages anti-Semitism on campus. It was only after I made that speech that someone made a safe space complaint. I can’t help but think it was a political move against me.

“Later on in the meeting, someone threatened me with a second complaint because I was shaking my head – but when I was addressing the room about my worries about Jewish students, there were plenty of people shaking their heads and nothing happened.”

Yeah, well, some safe spaces are safer than others.