“Safe spaces” won’t help students

When I was young, I ran away to my closet and surrounded myself with my stuffed pig and my other animal friends after getting in a fight with my unforgiving sister over the last pudding cup.
 
 
I was seeking a way to escape the problem of my tyrannous sister. However, after emerging from my solitude, I realized that I did not gain anything from this experience. My beloved pudding cup had been devoured.
 
 
Escaping my problems as a child may have been a way to temporarily solve them; however, as college students, we may not have the same luck with this tactic. 
 
 
At the collegiate level, “safe spaces” are essentially physical or metaphorical places where those who feel persecuted, discomforted or victimized can join together with those experiencing similar emotions.
 
 
Sounds great in theory, right? Well, I believe that these types of “safe places” are inherently similar to the confines of the closet or therapy room to which I ran away as a child.
 
 
The results are also inherently similar. Safe spaces simply create an imaginary wall from reality and all the harshness that accompanies it.
 
 
Recent news regarding “safe spaces” — such as the case involving racially or culturally insensitive Halloween costumes at Yale University — sparked backlash. At Yale, students staged a “March of Resilience,” in part to protest the lack of administrative action in developing “safe spaces.” 
 
 
However, the costume debacle was met with criticism. Many people felt that if someone was offended by something, they could simply remove themselves from the situation or confront the person about why a costume makes them feel offended. 
 
 
The guarantee of absolute emotional comfort and safety at all times in one’s life is wishful thinking, to say the least. Being exposed to an array of characters, both good and bad, is what forces a person to make decisions about how to deal with conflict. 
 
 
I am not trying to say that racism isn’t an issue, nor I am trying to disregard the offenses by some people in the world today. I am simply arguing that “safe spaces” are not, and should never be, a guarantee — because in the real world, there isn’t such a thing as a “safe space.”
 
 
We should reconsider “safe spaces” on campus and perhaps open up a dialogue between those groups in conflict to appropriately work through the real issues at hand.
 
Sara Leibham 
University student