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Former Harvard dean calls for ‘brave spaces’ alongside controversial ‘safe spaces’ on college campuses

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Forget “safe spaces”- a former vice-dean of Harvard is demanding that “brave spaces” exist, where individuals can debate rigorously without persecution.

John Palfrey’s suggestion of “brave spaces” -places where no topic is off-limits and one can debate as vigorously as they wish- was welcomed by British academics in light of growing “safe space” culture.

Author and Harvard academic, John Palfrey. Credit: Twitter.

According to the Daily Mail, the London-based King’s College was found to be paying “Safe Space Marshals” to listen in on talks by outsiders to ensure they don’t voice offensive views to their audiences.

Palfrey, who wrote Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces, said that diversity and freedom of speech were being pitted against each other- for no good reason.

“In recent years, a false choice has been served up: you are either for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our communities or you are for free expression,” he said. “The strength of our democracy depends on a commitment to upholding both.”

British University leaders -and even lawmakers- agree.

“Brave spaces could be the solution that brings together sensible people of goodwill from both sides,” said Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of Buckingham University. “The whole debate has become very polarised and damaging to the perception of higher education. This is a clear way forward that should detoxify and take the steam out of the situation.”

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