The letter sent to students which told them not to expect safe spaces has been a winner for all who believe in free speech.

The FIRE blog reports.

U. Chicago’s ‘Academic Freedom’ Letter a Win for Campus Speech [UPDATED]

The University of Chicago (UC) has pushed back against the nationwide trend toward student-led calls for censorship with a letter to incoming students telling them not to expect “intellectual ‘safe spaces’” when they arrive on campus this fall. FIRE hopes this will be the first of many requests from colleges and universities asking students to recommit to freedom of expression this academic year.

Importantly, UC has confirmed to FIRE that its statement that it does “not support so-called ‘trigger warnings’” is not a ban on that practice. Critics today have charged that the statement might undermine academic freedom: If UC had banned the use of trigger warnings outright, that would have affected the academic freedom of professors who might choose to use them as a pedagogical tool. If that was UC’s intention, then indeed the concern would be well-placed. Fortunately, UC spokesperson Jeremy Manier assured FIRE that professors maintain broad latitude to engage in teaching practices as they see fit or to accommodate student requests.

The letter, written by Dean of Students Jay Ellison, reads in its entirety as a staunch defense of academic freedom. Sent to incoming students along with the book Academic Freedom and the Modern University: The Experience of the University of Chicago, Ellison’s letter condemns certain recent phenomena that imperil free inquiry on college campuses:

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called “trigger warnings,” we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual “safe spaces” where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

Fostering the free exchange of ideas reinforces a related University priority—building a campus that welcomes people of all backgrounds. Diversity of opinion and background is a fundamental strength of our community. The members of our community must have the freedom to espouse and explore a wide range of ideas.