Debate continues over ‘safe spaces’ in universities.

‘Debate around safe spaces, trigger warnings and university censorship erupted online during the latter half of 2015. One of the articles that sparked debate was a front page feature in the The Atlantic, 'The Coddling of the American Mind', in which Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt claim that a culture of trigger warnings and safe spaces may be making students' mental health worse. 

The mental health of students remains a major concern globally, so I spoke with leading trauma psychologist and Harvard Professor, Richard McNally, about Lukianoff and Haidt's claim. Professor McNally appeared to be in agreement, saying, "Although unquestionably well-intentioned, trigger warnings and their implied counsel of avoidance are likely to be counter-therapeutic for students."

Civil liberties might be a more popular discussion point, but the failing of support services is an issue highly relevant to debates about campus censorship. "If certain course material produces intense distress", said Professor McNally, "then students should strongly consider seeking psychological treatment." When I pressed him on where he believes responsibility for this lies, he made it clear that it goes beyond the students, adding, "universities need to know how to refer students to therapists best trained to help them overcome the effects of trauma."

Instead of criticising the methods of those students stepping up to try and help their peers, we can admire their compassion, and respect their determination to plug a failing support system. And if civil liberties campaigners don't want this to deteriorate into censorship then they can join efforts to make sure that adequate support exists.’ – Huffington Post

‘A university student was threatened with being thrown out of a meeting after being accused of violating “safe space” rules - by raising her hand.

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.

“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.”

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.’ - Telegraph

 

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