A safe space is intended to be an area free of bias, conflict, criticism, threatening situations, adverse ideas, etc.
Safe spaces are not a recent event, they have been going on for roughly 50 years and are often linked with women’s movements and gay-rights movements. However, what has happened over the years is that safe spaces have taken root in campus life for many colleges.
Safe spaces that were once meant to protect those who were under constant scrutiny are now common-place on many of America’s campuses, allowing students to distant themselves from that they deem offensive or biased. There are many that approve of such spaces, claiming that they provide a safe learning environment for students on campus.
In contrast, there are also many who believe that these safe spaces inhibit the ability of students to learn and inhibit their development as adults. While we haven’t seen anything in the way of safe spaces at Northwest, it is only a matter of time before they become a hot topic.
Safe spaces have almost integrated themselves into pop culture. Namely after the election of President Donald Trump which sparked widespread outcry over the United States.
Safe spaces have never been more prevalent than they are since his election. Many students whom didn’t agree with Trump’s reforms or ideals sought safe spaces to cope with his election. Many colleges, such as Boston University, took steps to provide mental and emotional care to students whom were affected by the election.
Many of these administrative interventions involved self-care guides, safe spaces, therapy sessions, counseling, etc. Many of the safe spaces provided amenities and entertainment to those distraught by the election; such as therapy pets and hot chocolate. Many claims that these accommodations provide a safe learning environment for students and increases overall happiness and safety on campus.
However, safe spaces have also been met with a lot of criticism. Many adults, staff, and students alike feel that safe spaces impede personal growth and learning capabilities.
At Northwest it has become common place for professors to put “trigger warnings” in their syllabus. This step is meant to protect the student from offensive material and allow them to not attend class if they know that they will get offended during the lecture.
A Northwest Student, Jordan Smith, speaks out against such regulations and the idea of safe spaces. “It’s stupid” he said, “they are supposed to be here to learn, not cry to themselves and huddle in the corner because they don’t like something.” Jordan isn’t a special case; many students are becoming outraged due to the degradation of learning. Many argue that a college campus is meant to be a place of learning, where other views and opinions can be freely expressed without the other party fleeing the discussion.
Many believe that safe spaces are on the rise, exponentially so since Trump became elected. While there are those that approve and support such movements and ideals; there are also those whom reject its notion. Will we see such dedicated safe areas at Northwest? The Administration have already begun work to provide accommodations for those whom might be offended during their stay here. The idea of safe spaces brings up many conflicts of interest, mainly with First Amendment rights. While most safe spaces are on private campuses, some have made their way onto more public places.