AU Students Organize ‘Safe Space’ Away From Due Process Lecture
The leading feminist group at American University will host a “safe space” Tuesday evening as a refuge away from a lecture on due process in the era of #MeToo.
Meanwhile, the American University Women’s Initiative (AUSG WI), under the leadership of student Maureen Smith, is anticipating that Athey will be so “triggering” that they’re planning to host a “safe space” during and after Athey’s lecture.
“In light of an event taking place on campus on Tuesday, October 23rd that is promoting the disempowerment and invalidation of survivors in sharing their stories, AUSG WI will be opening our office as a safe space from 7:00pm to 9:00pm,” reads a recent statement.
“Whether you choose to protest, speak out, or unplug from social media and the news, your feelings and experiences are valid,” the statement also noted, adding that “news content can be triggering and you may find it beneficial to unplug from social media.”
It’s unclear what exactly will be at the safe space.
As highlighted in the new book "The Coddling of the American Mind," the most well-known safe space was organized by Brown University students in 2015 in response to a speech on sexual assault and the concept of rape culture.
“The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and a video of frolicking puppies… as well as staff members purportedly trained to deal with trauma,” recounts the new book.
While that was just one of many safe spaces that have propped up over the past three years, since then, the form and tone of this archetypical safe space has been replicated to varying degrees at other universities by (typically) students in response to controversial speakers.
Maureen Smith (she/her/hers), the director of the AUSG WI, did not respond to a request for comment from PJ Media, but Amber Athey told PJ Media on Sunday evening that “due process should never make students feel unsafe.”
“It is a God-given right outlined in the Fifth Amendment that ensures innocent people don’t have their lives ruined by a mere allegation,” said Athey. “Unfortunately, the #MeToo movement has gone so far that men are presumed guilty until proven innocent.”
“We must balance the desire for justice from sexual assault victims with the rights of the accused. Otherwise, innocent people will be wrongly punished and victims will not get the justice that they deserve,” Athey added.
She also clarified that she supports sexual assault survivors, answering to the student criticism that her speech would be an attack on victims.
“If any of these students were ever falsely accused they would surely feel different about calling me a misogynist or suggesting that I am anti-survivor. I am pro-individual rights and that means protecting the accusers and the accused,” she added.
Athey is also a columnist for Catholic Vote, and frequently appears on TV shows such as FOX News, Fox and Friends, and One America News (OAN). She will be hosted by the AU Young Americans for Liberty chapter, and her talk will be streamed live on Facebook at this link.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen.