As Yale students demand greater administrative oversight to sustain the “safe spaces” on their campus, University of Oklahoma professor David Deming is denouncing the threats inherent to college campuses and seeking the ability to carry a gun for self-defense.
A starker contrast could not exist: at Yale students are asking the administration to protect them, and in Oklahoma a professor points to history to demonstrate that safety cannot be guaranteed by a university administration.
According to Reason, Yale’s Silliman College master Nicholas Christakis was hosting a November 5 panel on free speech when students began yelling at him for refusing to denounce Halloween costumes that some students took as offensive during campus parties over Halloween weekend. The riff began days earlier when Chistakis’s wife–Erika–used an email to ask why anyone believes it’s the role of the university to “control the forms of costumes of young people?”
Nicholas agreed with his wife, so students screamed and cursed at him as he stood before them.
In one exchange a student screamed, “As your position as master, it is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students that live in Silliman. You have not done that. By sending out that email, that goes against your position as master. Do you understand that?” When Christakis said he did not agree with the student’s point of view, the student screamed, “Then why the f**k did you accept the position! Who the f**k hired you?” The student went on to assure Christakis that students did not want an “intellectual space” but a feeling of “home.”
Intertwined with the riff over costumes is the allegation that black women were excluded from a “whites only” Halloween party on campus. And while The Daily Beast reports the “whites only” party may not have really happened, it continues to fuel the fire.
So all these things come together in what Reason describes as a demand for “safe spaces” at Yale’s Sillman College. Students want the administration to do more to prevent them being offended, and they want the administration to fire those who refuse play along.
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma–without any connection to the Yale controversy whatsoever–Professor David Deming points to the futility of trusting administrations to keep students and faculty safe and contends that the only real means to safety on a college campus is through a recognition that “self-defense is a basic human right.” Writing in OK News, Deming stressed that the Oklahoma legislature needs to legalize campus carry in the coming legislative session so that students and faculty with concealed carry licenses can keep themselves safe.
University administrators have no way of keeping students, faculty and staff safe. A courtroom can be secured with doors, walls and metal detectors. But a college campus has miles of open borders open to any terrorist or deranged individual. The police do the best they can, but law enforcement typically take minutes to respond whereas it only takes seconds to shoot people.
What a contrast. At Yale the students jeered the Silliman College master and demanded safety–via “safe spaces”–from the administration. But in Oklahoma, a professor pointed out the futility of trusting a school administration for safety and asked the legislature to open up college campuses to concealed carry so students can protect themselves.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.