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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > April 2018 > Safety zone

Safety zone

How two university creative-writing programs are building respect in the classroom


THE CONCEPT OF safe spaces on post-secondary campuses has become, to say the least, polarizing. On one side are students – often from traditionally marginalized groups – who seek protection not just from physical, verbal, or sexual abuse but also from perceived ideological and emotional harm. On the other side are those who argue the idea has gone so far as to impede academic freedom and speech. The debate has become particularly fraught in creative arenas, where students are sharing personal work, often for the first time. Meanwhile, as established creative-writing degree programs at the University of British Columbia and Concordia University have come under fire in the past two years as a result of high-profile cases involving alleged misconduct by professors, other schools are actively working to bolster respect and trust in the classroom.

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