University of Wisconsin-La Crosse: Students Have ‘Right’ to ‘Feel Great’ in Safe Space

By Jillian Kay Melchior | 4:47 pm, October 11, 2016

The University of Wisconsin La Crosse Pride Center has published an extraordinarily broad list of “rights” for students seeking refuge in on-campus safe spaces.

Many of these so-called “rights” address feelings or emotional states.

UW-La Crosse’s Pride Center claims that students have a right “to feel safe being who you are.”

Students are also supposedly entitled “to feel supported by staff, faculty and other students and to voice your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions without the fear of being put down or disrespected.”

So university employees apparently aren’t allowed to disagree with students’ choices, thoughts and opinions in the safe space—no matter how nonsensical, self-destructive or wrongheaded they may be.

Sounds like a safe situation, right? What could possibly go wrong?

(Nevermind that “here students are infallible” is a bad model for education.)

Perhaps most outrageous, students have a “right,” the Pride Center claims, “to feel great in the presence of other people in the space, whether you are here for socializing, support, escape or to do homework.”

Not just comfortable, or welcomed, or accommodated. Great.

So if someone in the safe space has an annoying habit, or if the personalities of students just naturally don’t mesh, or if a student is having an off day, it’s no longer an unfortunate reality. It’s a rights violation.

 One might wonder from whence such a panoply of “rights” derive.

It’s also a head-scratcher how, exactly, the university will make good on its guarantee by changing students’ internal emotional state. Even if a university could make good on such promises, it’s far from clear that the outcome would be desirable.

Such an over-promising safe space is certain to disappoint. And when it does, how are students to respond? Perhaps this excessive bill of campus “rights” explains why so many universities watched students effectively revolt against administration.

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.