Erika Christakis, the Yale faculty member who attracted massive protests for a very nuanced email on hard questions of speech and offense, has decided to leave the classroom. Do read her email; it would be hard for any reasonable reader to find anything "unsafe" in what she wrote. A reasonable person might take issue with some of her conclusions or prescriptions, or even her equivocations, but there is absolutely nothing threatening about what she wrote. It is deeply ironic that the protesters who claimed to feel so unsafe decided to confront Dr. Christakis' husband (also a Yale faculty member and also a faculty Master in the same residential college as her) instead of her. They may claim to be modern and progressive and egalitarian, but when a woman spoke out of line they demanded that her husband correct her.
I'm old enough to remember a time when it was the conservatives who were demanding that kids shut up and stop saying offensive things. Well, the kids made one big mistake: They actually listened to their elders. And in the process they became their elders. So now we have the lefty kids running around saying that they feel unsafe when somebody says something about being cautious about going after people for their costumes.
The only good news is that the lefty kids are still offending their conservative elders. Personally, I'd prefer that they did it with rap music and heavy metal and graphic music videos, but I'm to the right of the median academic, so I guess that offending me with this babyish "safe space" talk is half of the point. I do find it strange, though, that the stances that put me to the right of the median academic are also the stances that are most in line with the ACLU. I'm also old enough to remember when "card-carrying member of the ACLU" was a slur used by none other than a member of the Bush dynasty.