Letter to the editor: Safe spaces already exist on campus

Posted By Bri Ozalas on Nov 30, 2016 |

I recently wrote a letter to the editor of Rowan’s online newspaper, The Whit, in repsonse to a concerned parent’s letter to the editor regarding “safe spaces” on Rowan’s campus. This article can be read here. “Safe spaces already exist on campus” is a response to “The business world does not have space spaces.”


Photo courtesy of The Whit. Online article can be read here.

I haven’t previously written to an editor for any newspaper and I would appreciate if you let my voice be heard as a student of Rowan University in response to Kevin O’Leary’s letter to the editor, “The business world does not have safe spaces.”

To begin – Mr. O’Leary, I appreciate your concern regarding Rowan’s campus life. Many parents do not express such concerns regardingthe environment in which their child is obtaining their education.

That being said, “safe spaces” already exist on Rowan’s campus. To name two: the Wellness Center, which includes counseling and psychological services, and the Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution, which includes the LGBTQIA Center, the Women’s Center, the Multicultural Center, and the Spiritual Exploration Center. These services, groups, and organizations on Rowan’s campus are a couple among many, and I am sure more exist than the ones I have listed. Assuming that “safe spaces” are a new fad in response to the outcome of the election is false. These places have existed for quite some time and will continue to exist well into the future of our generation and the future of Rowan’s community.

Moreover, the email to which you refer simply acknowledges that the Rowan community, regardless of opinion or perspective, should be respectful of others’ opinions and perspectives. The email states that every member of Rowan’s community deserves respect. Overall, this is an important lesson for all of us to learn, not just the population of Rowan University.

Ultimately, the idea of a “safe space,” or a place in which students go to feel that their opinions, emotions, and perspectives are valid and accepted, is not an aspect of our university of which to be ashamed. Deemed “safe spaces” not only provide an environment for mental health care for college students, but also provide an outlet for marginalized groups to feel accepted and comfortable.

The “real world” does have safe spaces, whether they are facilitated by an organization or university or an individual’s own designated place to feel safe. Rhetoric that continues to dismiss and disregard not only mental health and wellness, but also the experiences of marginalized groups will continue to damage Rowan’s community. In ten years, we will not only see the benefits of safe spaces, but the ways in which discussing mental wellbeing and acknowledging the experiences of different individuals have benefitted our community.


Bri Ozalas


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