The “safe spaces” fad popular among many progressive college activists is occupying a new piece of real estate: The pages of a student government-funded newspaper.
The official newspaper of California’s Claremont McKenna College announced this month it would be setting aside some of its column inches to give “people of color” an unfiltered voice in the media.
“So for those who don’t feel all the messages of solidarity are enough, or who feel the mainstream media is misguided in representing people of color, or who feel compelled to speak and be heard, we would like to re-purpose its influence by providing a space in next week’s issue for students of color to voice their experiences,” a Nov. 13 editorial in The Student Life stated. “We will proofread, but we will not edit your voice or content.”
"They’re supposed to be neutral, non-partisan"
Junior Steven Glick, the publisher of Claremont McKenna’s Independent newspaper the Claremont Independent, told "Fox & Friends" on Sunday he didn’t feel the stance taken by The Student Life’s editorial board was appropriate.
“So with the school paper, they’re school funded, they’re connected to all the students, they’re designed to be a representative of the whole student body, they’re supposed to be neutral, non-partisan,” Glick said. “So for them to take a stand, side with one group on this issue, is not in the boundaries of what this paper should try to be accomplishing with their opinion section.”
On-campus protests related to perceived issues of race resulted in the Claremont McKenna dean stepping down on Nov. 12. The demonstrations, which included hunger strikes, were similar to ones seen around the country recently, most visibly at the University of Missouri, Yale and Ithaca College.
But Glick said student sentiment is far from one-sided and the protest issue has become contentious.
“It’s clearly a very divisive issue on campus; these protests that have been going on and the way they’ve been handled,” Glick said. “We had the dean of Claremont McKenna College forced to resign; we had the junior class president forced to resign as well. And it’s an issue that students have been very divided on. It’s something that, at a school of 1,200 students for Claremont McKenna College, a letter signed by 300 students in criticism of the protests was sent out. So clearly it’s something where the student body is very divided.”
The Student Life’s planned printable “safe space” is just one example of the trend in the Claremont College system.
The Independent posted a screen shot from the Facebook page of the Motley Coffeehouse at Scripps College purportedly advertising an event “only for people of color and allies that they invite.” The posting has seemingly since been deleted. The Independent also highlighted an event by 5C Students of Color Alliance at Pomona College that publicized a restricted meeting space. “As this is a space for students of color, please respect the space as such,” the Facebook post stated.