Segments in this Video

Debate "Housekeeping" (05:21)


John Donvan introduces the panelists and explains the format for the debate on safe spaces.

Opening Statements For: Suzanne Nossel (05:15)

Chief executive officer of PEN America, Nossel argues that universities should afford students the opportunity to deal with difficult areas and uncomfortable situations to build their self-confidence. Safe spaces are a place or environment in which a person or category of people will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.

Opening Statements Against: Ash Bhagwat (05:19)

Law Professor at UC Davis, Bhagwat describes how safe spaces can constitute homes, churches, or clubhouses. Students stay on campus all the time. Colleges can designate rooms or a building free from harassment.

Opening Statements For: David Hudson (05:16)

Vanderbilt University professor, Hudson explains how safe spaces infringe on core principles of the First Amendment, citing decisions made by judges in Abrams v. United States, Keyishian v. Board of Regents, and Whitney v. California. Safe spaces lead to the suppression of speech.

Opening Statements Against: Michael Roth (05:01)

President of Wesleyan University, Roth traces the origination of safe space. It protects against retaliation and attack, and creates an arena to tolerate painful subjects. What might not bother one person may be painful to another.

What Constitutes Unsafe? (10:14)

Donvan summarizes opening statements. Nossel believes harassment and discrimination laws need to be more enforced. The panelists agree that censorship can be a slippery slope.

Different Types of Safe Spaces (02:01)

Bhagwat believes that separation can undermine the community. Hudson counters that university students feel censored.

Promoting a Leftist Agenda (04:35)

Roth describes how safe spaces were vital for gay rights and feminism. Demographics on campuses have changed.

Classroom Environment (04:12)

Roth states, the classroom must be a safe space and students cannot fear retaliation or retribution. The First Amendment protects the right to freedom of association.

QA: Classroom Sanctions (05:21)

People disagree in civil discourse. Bhagwat provides examples of classroom discussions that are inappropriate. Nossel and Roth debate the definition of safe space.

QA: Unsafe Universities (02:13)

Most people do not want to hurt another's feelings. Hudson explains that differing opinions should be celebrated not feared.

QA: Right Not to Listen (04:30)

Hudson believes in the right to receive information and ideas. Many college and university campuses are public. Roth explains that disagreement is not the same as retaliation and attack.

QA: Failure of Leadership (04:49)

Panelists discuss how professors need to create an environment for a robust exchange of ideas. Students do not have a home for retreat. Safe spaces open the door to censorship.

Concluding Statement For: Nossel (02:20)

Universities must address the needs of demographically diverse student bodies and help them feel a sense of belonging, but should not infringe on academic freedom and free speech. At UC Berkeley, violence erupted when Republican students felt marginalized.

Concluding Statement Against: Bhagwat (01:54)

Students are just as tough-minded, assertive, and independent as 24 years ago. Everyone has the right to be left alone with people who like and agree with you.

Concluding Statement For: Hudson (02:16)

The First Amendment was essential to the Civil Rights movement; it provides individuals with the freedom of expression and self-fulfillment. Colleges are not kindergartens.

Concluding Statement Against: Roth (02:15)

Milton thought free speech applied only to Protestants. Roth describes a new program at Wesleyan University to attract more conservatives.

Time to Vote (03:25)

Donvan compliments panelists on their conduct and instructs the audience to vote. Panelists discuss the workplace developing safe spaces.

Audience Vote Results (01:05)

Pre-Debate - For: 57% - Against: 25% - Undecided: 18% Post-Debate - For: 56% - Against: 35% - Undecided: 9%

Credits: Trigger Warning: Safe Spaces Are Dangerous: A Debate (00:08)

Credits: Trigger Warning: Safe Spaces Are Dangerous: A Debate

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Trigger Warning: Safe Spaces Are Dangerous: A Debate

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Long hailed as bastions of intellectual freedom where ideas and opinions are openly exchanged, universities have recently come under attack by those who claim that a new generation of students and administrators are restricting speech in the name of inclusion and political correctness. At the heart of this debate is the question of "safe spaces"—places where students can be free of racist, sexist, or other derogatory speech. Such places, some argue, provide a refuge from bigotry and oppression by allowing students the opportunity to express themselves in an empathetic and civil environment. But others argue that, however well-intended, safe spaces threaten free speech and undermine the resilience of people who will face controversial issues in the larger world. Are safe spaces a legitimate and necessary component of modern education, or are they a misguided concept that coddles young minds? Are safe spaces dangerous?

Length: 78 minutes

Item#: BVL165892

ISBN: 978-1-64481-285-3

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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