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The era of the delicate, coddled college student may be coming to an end signaled by a strongly worded “grow up” letter issued by the University of Chicago to its entering freshman class.

Safe spaces may be on there way out.

Up recently, teenagers chafed at the bit during their senior year in high school, anxious to grab their diploma and head off to the state university, an elite private school, or city college.

Proud, but anxious parents, delivered their 18-year-olds to schools in the fall, outfitted dorm rooms, wrote tuition checks and hoped for the best.

Only a few months later, their “child” arrived for Thanksgiving with a duffle bag of dirty laundry and some new ideas.

Exposure to a broader world of thought had expanded the minds of teenagers whose most important concerns only six months before were acne breakouts and who to take to prom.

Aristotle. Plato and Socrates. Descartes and Kierkegaard. Marx and Engels. Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Nietzsche.

College freshmen embraced the new concepts as if they were the first to hear of them – and related them at the family holiday table with the zeal of the new convert.

But that was a long time ago.

More recently, “millennials” – babies born anywhere from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, have taken their politically correct of the world to the university campus demanding to be protected from ideas, or even words written in chalk on sidewalks that might upset them.

Students otherwise old enough to vote, marry, enter into a contract, give blood or donate a kidney, or fight and die for their country demand “safe spaces” to avoid words and ideas.

“Trigger warnings” give prior notice of topics or words that may come up in lectures, such as the contextually accurate use of the “n” word in Mark Twain’s, Huckleberry Finn.

Now, the University of Chicago is warning its incoming freshman class to be prepared to be offended.

“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,” the acceptance letter states.

The millennials in the Class of 2020 better be prepared to open their minds and… learn.

 

 

 

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