Autonomous space

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For articles specifically about autonomous spaces in schools for LGBT students, see Safe-space. For the South Park episode, see Safe Space (South Park). For other uses, see Autonomy (disambiguation).

An autonomous space or safe space is a social space which is restricted with respect to social relations, language, political views and/or behavior.[1] For example a club or forum may be limited to women, black women, etc.[2]

Supporters say that the point of a safe space is to provide social space that is safe for marginalized people to freely communicate and express ideas.[3][unreliable source?] Opponents argue that it limits free speech and creates an echo chamber of concurring opinions, or even is discriminatory against certain groups like white men.

Organizational behavior guidelines[edit]

Organizations, particularly institutions of higher learning, may establish policies which prohibit harassment, but may permit discussion of controversial issues:[4]

Others may offer refuges even from talk considered traumatic[1] or prohibit events or persons whose presence might, for some, make a campus not safe.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Judith Shulevitz (March 21, 2015). "In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas" (op-ed Sunday Review). The New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  2. ^ Julia Long (December 7, 2012). "So I'm a feminist troublemaker for requesting some women-only space?" (Comment is free, The Guardian). The Guardian. Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Code of Conduct". Retrieved March 24, 2015. The Geek Feminism community prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. 
  4. ^ Louise Tickle (February 2, 2015). "Free speech? Not at four in five UK universities According to research by online magazine Spiked 80% of universities have restrictions on free speech – from banning sombreros to excluding the Sun". The Guardian. Retrieved March 25, 2015. At Portsmouth University, student union president Grant Clarke says in a statement that policies aimed at defending students from racist, sexist and homophobic harassment don’t preclude people from openly talking and discussing these issues, “but we don’t accept these behaviours on our campus”. 
  5. ^ Karen McVeigh (February 2, 2015). "Goldsmiths cancels free speech show by comedian Kate Smurthwaite Comedy society pulls event as feminist campaigners threatened to picket it over her views on decriminalising prostitution". The Guardian. Retrieved March 25, 2015. I was told it was due to a likelihood of a breach of Goldsmiths’ ‘safe space policy’. I’m a zero threat to anybody’s safe space policy. If someone disagrees with me, I want to be able to talk about it.” 

External links[edit]