A tip of The Scrapbook homburg to the University of Chicago, which has let its incoming freshmen know that they should expect an intellectual climate as bracing and exhilarating as the local winters. No special-snowflake treatment. The letter from the dean of students (John Ellison) to the Class of 2020 students is worth quoting at length:
"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 the University of Chicago's defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. This is captured in the University's faculty report on freedom of expression. Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others. You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.
"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.
"Fostering the free exchange of ideas reinforces a related University priority—building a campus that welcomes people of all backgrounds. Diversity of opinion and background is a fundamental strength of our community. The members of our community must have the freedom to espouse and explore a wide range of ideas."
Well put, Dean Ellison! And in case you were wondering, these are not the words of an exasperated, grizzled old administrator wanting to make a last stand before retiring. Ellison has only been on the job for two years. Let's hope he has a long and storied career; even moderately brave college bureaucrats are few and far between these days