Letter to the Editor: Villanova isn’t a “Safe Space”



Kinjal Dave

Dear Reader,

As a Senior, I find it is my responsibility to share with you some ideals that represent what it means to be a Villanovan. I find it necessary to reiterate some otherwise obvious ideals due the third known instance of Black Lives Matter displays being torn down.

Echoing University of Chicago’s statement to incoming first year students regarding safe spaces, I’d like to emphasize Villanova’s commitment to a vibrant and open intellectual community. Here’s a quote from University of Chicago’s statement that supports my exact sentiment:

“Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, 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. You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.”

I regret to inform you of two transgressions that occurred on the basement floor of Sullivan’s bulletin board. Twice within 48 hours of move in, a Black Lives Matter bulletin display was torn down. Whether this was by a resident of the building or an outside member present on move-in day, I sincerely hope there were no Villanovan bystanders to the occurrences. A student’s BLM sign on their door was torn down in St. Mary’s Hall this week. I’d like to stress that silencing the voice of resistance to systemic oppression is not in the Wildcat spirit. Nor the Catholic spirit. Nor the Christian spirit. Nor the human spirit of empathy and compassion.

Villanova is not a “safe space”. Censoring the Residence Assistance’s freedom of speech or a student’s freedom of speech is an abhorrent infraction on American ideals and Constitutional values, not to mention the deeply Catholic and humanistic ideals of social justice. As a member of the Villanova community, know that your actions are not immune from Villanovans challenging every level of identity privilege. Our language will not be diluted for the sake of political correctness.

In order for all lives to matter, black lives must. If you are uncomfortable with a symbolic statement of solidarity, an unapologetic affirmation of life for our black brothers and sisters, then I suggest you become adjusted to the real world, where people will disagree with your opinions and you must learn how to engage opposition with maturity and respect.