Safe Spaces Undermine Students Education
The newest trend in Education is safe-spaces and triggers warnings for students on University and College campuses is detrimental to students. According to Rob Byrne safe-spaces were created in Feminist and LGBTQ circles to have a space to meet and develop strategies for resistance against the “man”. Educators in the 1980s adopted tenants of safe-spaces to expand diversity and include previous left behind students in college classrooms. On the surface, this does not like something that would be a bad thing, however, safe-spaces are evolving into something that is determinantal for students’ development on college campuses.
A trigger warning is a warning that is issued to students on topics that may be “triggering” or emotionally traumatic to students. A safe-space in the modern context is a place where students shelter themselves from ideas that they find to be emotionally disturbing after receiving a trigger warning. As Byrne mentions in his lecture this files in the face of one of the most accepted treatments for PTSD in Psychology, prolonged exposure therapy. Prolong exposure therapy involves approximately 15 sessions about 90 minutes each where an individual with the help of a trained medical professional or a psychologist confronts things that remind them of a traumatic event. According to Psychology today American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs and Defense both endorse prolonged exposure therapy. Educators who advocate for safe-spaces are arguing for policies that are not based on sound psychological practices. To move past traumatic event an individual needs to confront their pain to master it.
Safe-Spaces on university campuses create ideological echo chambers that stifle discourse between students of opposing views. When students encounter ideas that challenge their own beliefs it creates a measure of cognitive dissidence in them. This forces the student to either reject or reaffirm their preexisting beliefs. It also exposes them to new ideas and cultures, which helps students find common ground and develop tolerance of other people’s ideas.
Van Jones in a Chicago Unversity event said this ” I do not want you to be intellectually safe. I do not want you to be emotionally safe. I want you to be strong.” Safe-spaces are creating a generation of young professionals that are ill-prepared to be introduced into the workforce. Because they have been sheltered in their echo-chambers they never learned to become emotionally strong and as a result, they fail in the real world. In the workplace, your employers do not care that you feel triggered, that do not care that you may feel offended by their ideas and will require you to perform regardless of your feelings. If your emotions get in the way of you performing your duty then your employer will fire you and hire someone else to take your place. That is the world that we live in and it is by no means a safe space. Institutions of higher learning safe-space policies are hindering students’ education by stunting their emotional and intellectually development.