“These safe spaces are literal comfort zones, spots where students can escape the terrifying gauntlet of emotional triggers and disquieting classroom discussions,” said university president Peter Saliva. “The size of an average dorm room, they will be covered with soft, neutrally colored padding, and students may go there whenever they like, in the middle of the night or during an exam.”
Lining the walls will be posters with messages such as “You are the smartest person on campus” and “Yes, Yale loves you most of all,” Saliva says. Outside of each safe space, volunteers will be stationed to dole out hugs and reassuring words, or to simply listen to complaints about condescending peers and professors who demand precise thinking.
Most safe spaces will contain non-allergenic, non-flammable, non-gendered stuffed animals for those who need to safely cuddle. Students who find themselves in want of intellectual stimulation — yet recoil at the thought of textbooks full of challenging or otherwise offensive material — can read uplifting classics such as “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
So far, a dozen temporary safe spaces have been set up next the library, but the lines to get in are already wrapping around the entire building. Some students are calling this shortage “emotional warfare” and are threatening lawsuits.
“It’s about time Yale shows its commitment to protecting us,” said Yasmin Baker, a sophomore history major who was among the first to seek refuge in a safe space after a professor accused her of plagiarism — a charge she doesn’t deny, but nevertheless disputes because it was made on the basis of her gender and ethnicity. “The only thing I want to know is, if we go into a safe space alone, who is going to protect us from our own thoughts?”