News Anchor: “Good Evening. We start tonight’s news with a special report: Campus ‘Safe Spaces.”
Video w/reporter voiceover: “When Brown University president Christina H. Paxson, announced that the university would hold a simultaneous, competing talk to provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault” student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.
Katherine Byron, a senior at Brown University and a member of its Sexual Assault Task Force, considers it her duty to make Brown a safe place for rape victims.”
Byron: “A “safe space” is intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. I provide a room equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.
Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall to listen in but feeling overwhelmed, she returned to the safe space.
Hall: “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs.”
Reporter: “Now the safe space concept seems to be growing and encompassing larger ground on many campuses. Last fall the president of Smith College, Kathleen McCartney, apologized for causing students and faculty to be “hurt” when she failed to object to a racial epithet uttered by a fellow panel member at an alumnae event in New York.
The offender was the free-speech advocate Wendy Kaminer, who had been arguing against the use of the euphemism “the n-word” when teaching American history or “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” In the uproar that followed, the Student Government Association wrote a letter declaring that “if Smith is unsafe for one student, it is unsafe for all students.””
Kraminer: “It’s amazing to me that they can’t distinguish between racist speech and speech about racist speech, between racism and discussions of racism.”
After we come back… “Taking the fear out of bathrooms.”
News Anchor: “A leading North Carolina newspaper issued an editorial last week telling girls to attempt “overcoming discomfort” at the sight of “male genitalia,” should transgender bathroom laws be enacted.
Video w/reporter voiceover: “In a defense of President Obama’s order compelling schools to allow access to restrooms on the basis of gender identity, the Charlotte Observer editorial board compared the discomfort of school-aged girls seeing male genitalia in locker rooms to the discomfort of white people being around black people in post-segregation America.”
Here is what The Charlotte Observer May 13th editorial had to say: Quote: ”This is what the Obama administration nudged the rest of the country toward Friday. Yes, the thought of male genitalia in girls’ locker rooms – and vice versa – might be distressing to some. But the battle for equality has always been in part about overcoming discomfort – with blacks sharing facilities, with gays sharing marriage – then realizing that it was not nearly so awful as some people imagined” .End quote.
While admitting that exposure to male genitalia is a possible outcome of transgender bathroom laws, the editorial went on to say that the notion that such laws constitute a threat to the privacy and safety of women and children is a “political fiction” pushed by Republicans.”
News Anchor: “Join us later tonight for our special report ‘Possession is nine tenths of the law.’”
Thank you for watching. Good night.”
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