Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro blasted critics of safe spaces and trigger warnings on college campuses as “lunatics.”
In a speech to new students on Monday, Schapiro argued that those who criticize campus safe spaces do so from a place of societal privilege.
“The people who decry safe spaces do it from their segregated housing places, from their jobs without diversity — they do it from their country clubs,” Schapiro said. “It just drives me nuts.”
Schapiro added that microaggressions, or “commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults,” are a serious threat to the mental well-being of Northwestern students. Microaggressions “cut you to the core” and aren’t easily forgotten, Schapiro argued.
Schapiro affirmed his commitment to providing safe spaces for students at Northwestern. “Look for those safe spaces,” he said. “If you can’t find them, we will help you find them.”
You can read more about Schapiro’s stance on safe spaces from The Daily Northwestern below:
Weinberg freshman Sayeed Sanchez said he disagrees that college students are becoming too sensitive. Sanchez, who identifies as queer and a person of color, said he felt Schapiro’s speech spoke to his fears about attending NU.
“I felt he was genuine, I felt safer,” Sanchez said. “He didn’t make me feel bad for wanting to have a safe space.”
Schapiro has defended safe spaces before: In a Washington Post op-ed published in January, he wrote that “the best hope we have of creating an inclusive community is to first create spaces where members of each group feel safe.”
Medill freshman Matthew Casler said he read Schapiro’s op-eds and agrees with his perspective on safe spaces and trigger warnings.
Casler added that spaces such as the Black House are particularly important in light of the University report on the black student experience sent out Monday. The 150-page report found many black students feel unwelcome or unsupported at NU.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org