Click here for COVID-19 updates affecting the campus community

OPINION: Safe zones contradict purpose of attending college


Once upon a time, institutions of higher learning were places where new and challenging ideas could be discussed openly.

Ideas lived and died because people either believed in them, or fought against them.

The times, however, have changed.

I’m not here to bash on the idea of being politically correct. But I do have an issue with safe zones and trigger words.

In case you’re new to this debate and find yourself wondering “What are these ideas all about?” Prepare to be enlightened.

A safe zone is a place where it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about an issue, air your grievances, and make your opinion heard.

There’s a catch. One majority opinion dominates conversation in the room.

It’s disguised as something that is meant to be an informative exchange of ideas.

Instead, what often exists is an echo chamber where people are reassured of their beliefs, rather than challenged.

This is not what college is supposed to be about.

Ideas need room to breathe.

They need to be discussed by people who both agree and disagree with them in order for them to take shape and have substance.

In order for people to learn, they need to hear all different sides to an argument. That’s the purpose of putting yourself in a diverse college setting.

Next, let’s examine trigger words.

As a society, we have accepted the notion that words have the power to hurt people. Because of this, certain words should be avoided.

While I agree certain obvious words should be avoided in order to prevent harm from being done to someone’s mental health, I feel people need to face things that would trigger their negative emotions that come up in daily conversation.

Take one example:

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

This phrase has a real nice nugget of truth buried in it.

The more you’re forced to come face-to-face with things you disagree with, the stronger you become.

The same goes with ideas.

If your idea about something differs from someone else’s but never has to be defended, who’s to say that it’s the best idea possible?

Conversely, if you have to constantly defend your idea from other arguments, you’re able to shape it to counter different flaws in other people’s arguments.

That’s what’s so great about college campuses; they’re filled with all different people from all walks of life.

Why would we ever want to create a place to shut ideas different from our own out

Share: