Safe for thee, but not meSafe for thee, but not meEditor's Note: I met Malcolm at a National Association of Scholars (NAS) meeting a few years ago.  He describes himself thusly, "Malcolm Allen is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, where he has taught since 1990.  Openly conservative, since the mid-nineties, he has been glared at, publicly hissed, and urged to perform a physical impossibility upon himself."

Lucky guy has tenure, but Dissident Prof still applauds him for advocating for a safe space for conservatives.  He says what few dare to say and with a witty British accent to boot.  We preface his manifesto with his brief explanation of the concept of a "safe space" on campus for the benefit of lay readers, who might think of safe spaces as those where a hard hat or a Glock can be set by one's side.

Safe Space for Conservatives by Malcolm Allen

In early 2009 the then Secretary of the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley's Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) sent a general e-mail asking if staff and faculty would volunteer their offices as "Safe Spaces."

Those who responded favorably were given ad hoc stickers bearing an inverted pink triangle to put on their office doors (the illustration shows the much fancier one handed out recently). 

These stickers indicate that the staff or faculty members who display them do not, in the words of Wikipedia's entry on the "Safe Space" movement, "tolerate anti-LGBT violence and harassment and [are] open and accepting, thereby creating a safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and all students."  Well, I am not myself an LGBT person but I would protest against bad behaviour directed at those who are, and I hope too that my LGBT colleagues, students, and friends think I treat them exactly as I treat heterosexuals.  Furthermore, I would be surprised to learn that any "space" in the world is more friendly to homosexuals than the academy, even without pink triangles.  What we have here is a little passive aggression on the part of the "Safe Space" movement's instigators, usefully combined with the opportunity for an ever-so-slightly self-conscious display of public virtue on the part of the elect.  The people on college campuses who do regularly come in for casual rudeness--or systematic harassment--are conservatives.  Hence my appeal below.

SAFE SPACE FOR CONSERVATIVES

• Have you ever been held up to ridicule simply because you’re openly conservative?

• Have students or faculty ever mocked you behind your back, perhaps publicly, simply because you’re openly conservative?

• Have you ever been made to feel uncomfortable in a social setting simply because you’re openly conservative?

• Do you suspect that you have ever been passed over for a job or a promotion simply because you’re openly conservative?

STUDENTS:

• Have you ever felt that an instructor found “progressive” beliefs or answers more acceptable than others?

• Have you ever felt uncomfortable in a classroom setting because you’re openly conservative?

• Have you ever taken a course that assumes certain “progressive” opinions as self-evident truths (e.g., non-physical differences between the sexes are socially constructed; the USA is too often a force for evil in the world; “social justice,” i.e., state-mandated redistribution of wealth, is an unquestionable good)?

• Has an instructor ever openly ridiculed your conservative political or religious beliefs?

• Do you want to get together with other victims of oppression and share experiences?

• Do you want a non-harassing hug from a conservative faculty member? (optional)

FACULTY

• How degraded or corrupted by “political correctness” is the institution in which you teach, on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 1 indicating “Not At All” and 10 indicating “Completely”)?

• How degraded or corrupted by “political correctness” is your discipline, on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 1 indicating “Not At All” and 10 indicating “Completely”)?

• As graduate student or assistant professor, were you ever advised to avoid a certain area of research (e.g., military or diplomatic history), or a certain approach (e.g., a nuanced or favourable take on European imperialism or the civilising effects of Christian belief), or a certain conclusion (e.g., that the high reputation of a particular female leftist author can only be explained by political predisposition on the part of her critics) on the grounds that such an area, approach, or conclusion would be a career-killer?

• Have you ever seen left-leaning administrators pass over in silence behaviour from the Left that would have incurred serious consequences had such behaviour been directed against those of the Left (e.g., the systematic abduction or destruction of student newspapers containing articles questioning leftist positions; an organised and sustained attempt to humiliate into silence those espousing a conservative point of view)?

• Have you ever become aware of supra-professional alliances amongst your colleagues based in part on shared leftist political beliefs?

• Has the institution in which you teach ever come close to, or actually suffered, damaging publicity caused by immoderate leftist political speeches or writings of faculty members or administrators, EITHER beliefs acceptable in themselves but expressed in an inappropriate forum or to a questionable extent, OR beliefs grossly offensive in and of themselves?  Examples of the former would include comments celebrating the election of President Obama; examples of the latter would include comments about the alleged culpability of those murdered on 9/11.

• Do you want to get together with other victims of oppression and share experiences?

• Do you want a non-harassing hug from a conservative colleague? (optional)   

Professor AllenProfessor Allen

 

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