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University Of Chicago Tells Freshmen It Doesn't Support "Trigger Warnings" Or "Safe Spaces"

A letter to the class of 2020 has sparked debate.

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Jim Young / Reuters

In a letter sent to incoming freshmen, the University of Chicago said it does not support "so-called trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" on campus.

The letter first congratulated the class of 2020 on their admittance — then went in to one of the private school's "defining characteristics."

"Our commitment to academic freedoms means that we do not support so-called 'trigger warnings,'" the letter stated. "We do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual 'safe spaces.'"

The letter closes with additional source material and a link to the university's Free Expression website.

Jay Ellison, the Dean of Students at The College who penned the letter, stressed that students are encouraged to speak and share their ideas freely "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," he wrote, adding, "At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort."

BuzzFeed News reached out to the University of Chicago for further comment.

The school is now a trending topic on Twitter, and responses from students, alumni, and the public, are mixed.

Some are in full support...

I APPLAUD the UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO's move in sending Freshmen a letter telling them NO PRECIOUS SNOWFLAKES will be tolerated here! FINALLY

Proud to be a part of @UChicago - free exchange of ideas, commitment to rigorous inquiry https://t.co/WKtmw0pGI7

...while others are condemning the university's statements, saying they are problematic.

I'm a proud alum of UChicago. And I'm proud because I think the school can be better than that shameful letter.

This is absolutely offensive and shows a basic misunderstanding of both concepts. Disturbing. https://t.co/xOU4BGQ6gP

@ChicagoMaroon the college considers trauma-based mental illness "discomfort?" fascinating. tell me more actually, please don't

But there is one idea that is unanimous:

UChicago hasn't even started yet and there is already a ton of drama over this letter

Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in New York.

Contact Tanya Chen at tanya.chen@buzzfeed.com.

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