How ‘Safe Spaces’ Stifle Ideas – The Chronicle of Higher Education

To those who spend much of their time in academic settings, the phenomenon I am associating with missionary regimes will be instantly recognizable. More and more in such settings, the learning agenda is controlled by cadres of so-called human-relations or human-resources professionals and their academic enablers, who, as the Yale English professor David Bromwich has described them, regard “learning as a form of social adjustment,” and believe that it is their business to promote “adherence to accepted community values.” Ideas thus are esteemed only insofar as they ordain a safe and accredited direction that we can learn, all of us, to follow. Dialogue is encouraged so long as it is rooted in approved suppositions and clearly headed where we must all want it to go. The atmosphere has about it, as Bromwich sharply observes, the qualities of “a laboratory that knows how to monitor everything, and how to create nothing” and “a church held together by the hunt for heresies.”

Robert Boyers, How ‘Safe Spaces’ Stifle Ideas – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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