This Class is not a Safe Space

Next week I am going to concentrate on the issue of academic freedom and the anti-free speech movement on college campuses. But today I will provide a paraphrased presentation I gave in my classes this semester. This is the talk I presented to my classes after I handed out my syllabus and told the students a little about myself. In these principles presented to my students, I think you will see how this relates to next week’s topic.
(By the way, my classes this semester is one focused on religion and one focused on racial issues, which are obviously controversial subjects)
Now I want to turn to an important subject. In recent years there has been talk about safe spaces and triggering. So you deserve to know that there is no safe space in this class. You will be confronted with ideas, some of which you will disagree with. If you have a problem with that, then this may not be the class for you.

I believe that college is the place where you should confront all sorts of different ideas. You should not be sheltered from ideas. In this class you will not be sheltered from those ideas. So once again if you have a hard time hearing ideas with which you disagree, then you may not want to stay in this class. I am serious about that. You may need to find courses that tell you what you want to hear. This will not be that course.
Now some of you are just taking the class for a grade. Since you are not emotionally invested in these subjects, it may not matter to you what is said in this class. If that is your motivation, I respect that although I hope you get more than a grade out of this course. But if you are emotionally invested in the topics in this course, then I promise you one thing. At some point this semester, I will piss you off. I know that because at some point this semester I will piss myself off. And if I am going to piss myself off, then I certainly am not going to spare you. Facts and science do not always follow our assumptions about reality and we will follow those in this course.
I believe that you should not go through four years of college and never have your ideas about reality challenged. I believe that some students are able to do that. When that occurs, I think that the students have been done a disservice by their college. In this class I am going to make sure that does not happen.
So you have been warned at this point. If you want a safe space, this is not the class for you. If you want to be confronted with different ideas, then I welcome you to this class. If you choose to stay in this class, I will assume that the latter is true and treat you accordingly. Any questions about this policy?


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