Safe spaces - don't set off my trigger warning!

Safe spaces - don't set off my trigger warning!


I think most of you know I work in the HE sector. There was a discussion on the radio this morning about Safe Spaces and they interviewed an academic who was told she couldn’t speak to medics at Kings about the effect of porn on young women because of a remark she made on the Moral Maze about transgender activists being abusive.

I remember this case and, to me, it highlighted a growing unease that I, and many of my fellow academics, have about safe spaces in general and the quashing of debate and free speech on campus.

This forum (Sotonians) is actually pretty good at allowing freedom to debate and discuss ideas without generally straying into personal attacks (too much, at least) and we can all generally retain our sense of humour.

I think a lot of this is down to @pap allowing debate to continue, even when he is seemingly against all but two or three of the Sotonians community (as is the case of the Brexit thread). A few times, I’ve half expected him to close down the forum when it seems he’s arguing against everyone, but fair play to him, he let’s it keep going and doesn’t flounce off in a fit of pique.

But, this isn’t supposed to be about Sotonians, it is about our tender youth who, it seems, need protecting from views, opinions and thoughts that might harm their well-being.

So, what is your view of safe spaces and barring people from speaking on campuses up and down the country?

To be fair to Dr Brunskell-Evans, she was careful about not wanting to demonise the very students who barred her but saw it as emblematic of a wider… what? Malaise? Fragility? Lack of resilience?



Professional outrage and a means with which to broadcast it (twitter) to a rapacious 24/7 media.


A runaway train and the brakes have gone…impossible to control.

I spent the whole of my childhood killing people, watching people being killed, making heroes of people who killed people…but it wasn’t real.

Today they watch the real stuff and can’t tell the difference.


University ‘safe spaces’ are a dangerous fallacy - they do not exist in the real world

But perhaps more importantly, is it not also dangerous to shield students from the harsh realities of life beyond the university barricades? A university community devoid of controversy and debate is not only foolish. It is also one totally unprepared for the real world.

BTW @bathsaint what HE do you work at?


This debate makes me slightly uncomfortable.


That will be my finger. Soz about that.


A small history of freedom of speech on Sotonians.

At first, I think we might have been just as prone to safe space shit as any HE institution. We were nice. You couldn’t say that. Etc. etc.

Two things happened. First, Lou thought it was fine for the likes of Furball to come on and be a shit to folk. This coincided with me reading Trigger Warning, a book that challenged my thinking and put me on Lou’s side of the debate.

I’m now of the view that people can say whatever the fuck they like. Not only is it the simplest solution. It’s the only one that really works.






Up-vote whore!


Get your finger out of my safe space.


Tokes is a safe space invader.


I find it the best place to operate. Gives you the element of surprise. Attack while their guard is down.


Its not his finger…


Interesting. So do you see there being no limits to free speech, if it is to be truly free?

[I checked out the book. There are actually several books that have this title including a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman]


Of course he fucking does! He has skipped the stages where on numerous occasions he has cut and pasted and twisted my words. We have had the “what would new posters think” stage, then “What might my daughters think?”, then "I know I might have said post what you like but time is linear and rules might change stage etc. before the apparent post what you like stage.