Dear Class of 2020 Student:
Welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to the College at the University of Chicago. Earning a place in our community of scholars is no small achievement and we are delighted that you selected Chicago to continue your intellectual journey.
Once here you will discover that one of University of Chicago’s defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry, though unfortunately freedom of expression is unavailable to students beyond the Borrow and Request system. Members of our community are encouraged to
speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, with out fear of [redacted]. You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement, but only via quiet conversations in library-designated group work spaces. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort, but rest assured, we’ll update the seating when we finally renovate the older libraries.
Our commitment to academic freedom means we do not support so-called “trigger warnings,” so I’ve decided to distribute the largest recorded example of a trigger warning to all of you. We do not condone the creation of intellectual “safe spaces” where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own, so in the meantime my office will serve as one for anyone upset with this letter.
Fostering the free exchange of ideas reinforces a related University priority—building a campus that welcomes people of all backgrounds at all, not just books. I have a great read to get back to though, so I will keep the rest of this short.
If you are one of the five people that goes places not ending in “Hall” or “Library,” please see me in my office after the safe space clears up.