Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the commencement address at the University of Michigan Saturday morning, winning many cheers, and some boos, when he denounced the creation of “safe spaces” on university campuses.
“The most important knowledge that you will leave here today with, like the importance of teamwork, has nothing to do with your major,” Bloomberg said. “It is about how to study, how to cooperate, how to listen carefully, how to think critically, and how to resolve conflicts through reason. In other words, it is working with others. Those are the most important skills in the working world, and it’s why colleges have always exposed students to challenging and uncomfortable ideas.”
Bloomberg then immediately denounced the steady proliferation of safe spaces and trigger warnings on American campuses. (RELATED: Michigan Creates Safe Space For Students Afraid Of Debate On Feminism)
“The fact that some university boards and administrations now bow to pressure groups, and shield students from these ideas through safe spaces, code words, and trigger warnings, is in my view a terrible mistake,” Bloomberg said, winning a big cheer from the crowd. “The whole purpose of college is to learn how to deal with difficult situations, not to run away from them.”
As Bloomberg continued, some students began to push back. (RELATED: Wisconsin Student Berates Bus Driver For Her Microaggressions)
“A microaggression is exactly that, micro,” he said. “But in a macro sense, one of the most dangerous places on a college campus is the so-called safe space, because it creates a false impression that we can isolate ourselves from those who hold different views. We can’t, and we shouldn’t try. Not in politics, not in the workplace.”
This time, instead of being met with cheers, Bloomberg’s remarks provoked jeers from some of the crowd, who loudly booed even as Bloomberg was still speaking.
Elsewhere in his address, Bloomberg gave a shout-out to Omar Mahmood, a Michigan student who was forced to quit writing for a conservative school newspaper after he published an article satirizing triggering warnings.
“I know that one of today’s graduates, Omar Mahmood, has faced threats and intimidation because he dared to write political satire about being left-handed in the Michigan Daily and he refused to apologize for it,” Bloomberg said. “Omar, wherever you are out there, I’m glad you stood your ground.”