The University of Chicago’s acceptance letter for the incoming class of 2020 is more than that— it’s a declaration of academic freedom. The college’s Dean of Students Jay Ellison used the letter to welcome students and reclaim the definition of college. An education at the University of Chicago is not about “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings,” he wrote, but “rigorous debate, discussion…disagreement,” and even occasional “discomfort.”
Welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to the college at the University of Chicago. Earning a place in our community of scholars is no small achievement and we are delighted that you selected Chicago to continue your intellectual journey.
Once here you will discover that one of the University of Chicago’s defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. This is captured in the University’s faculty report on freedom of expression. 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.