Imogen Harris is a student at Edinburgh University where things are clearly well and truly out of control. We’ve heard of PC culture in America being ridiculous, students needing “safe zones” and having to adapt language so no one feels antagonized and no one needs a trigger warning, but this may be the ultimate in stupidity.
During a student council meeting, Imogen was accused of failing disabled students by not responding to an open letter. Her response, at the meeting, was to then raise her hand in the age-old school tradition of indicating you wish to speak. Imogen had, in fact, tried to contact the author of the open letter. But hold up. Did she just raise her hand?
The hand raising netted the 22 year old music student a “safe space complaint.” What the hell is a safe space complaint? According to the rules at the school, which may be forged out of actual cakes of bullshit, “members are expected to “respect the right” of all students attending meetings and staff to enjoy EUSA as a safe space environment, defined as “a space which is welcoming and safe and includes the prohibition of discriminatory language and actions.” So far so good, right? Why is hand raising an issue? Brace yourself – “The policy goes on to highlight that members should refrain from hand gestures which “denote disagreement” or “indicate disagreement with a point or points being made.”
Raising her hand indicated she disagreed with a point, namely a false point about her, and therefore made some uppity yahoo in the meeting feel unsafe. That’s the gist of this story. I can call you an irresponsible ass clown, but if you raise your hand to counter that position, you’re violating my fluffy safe feelings.
At this point they literally stopped the meeting to cast a vote as to whether Imogen should be banished from the room. Can you even imagine this happening outside of the most slick satire you’ve ever seen? A room full of actual adults voting to banish a hand-raiser as though she’d just punched everyone in the mouth.
18 people in that room voted to have her removed while 33 semi-sensible beings allowed her to stay. But then she had the unmitigated gall to shake her head at some point which almost got her called out again.
What is it about modern universities anyway? Why have they become havens not for free speech and ideas but for microcosms of self-absorbed weirdos. Little Me-obsessed individuals who don’t want to go out into a world and adapt to it, who want to stay in a bubble and have the world adapt to them? Who never want to be disagreed with as though they couldn’t possibly ever be wrong, who never want to feel challenged, or offended or stood up to. That’s the way life is, for real people, isn’t it? Don’t you meet people every day who piss you off, or try your patience, or at least make you stop and shake your head? Imagine if you had to vote on it every time it happened because you felt violated. Or if people voted on kicking you out for every innocuous thing you did. How would you respond?