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U. Florida Wants Students to Evaluate ‘Emotional Risks’ When Planning Events

U. Florida Wants Students to Evaluate ‘Emotional Risks’ When Planning Events

“designed to justify greater university control over lectures and events”

This is part of the problem we face in higher education now. Too much emphasis is placed on the danger of hurting anyone’s feelings.

The Washington Examiner reports:

University of Florida asks students to evaluate ’emotional risk’ of campus events

Before approving student events, the University of Florida asks campus organizations to evaluate the “emotional risk” a potential event could pose.

According to Young America’s Foundation (my previous employer), the event permit application student organizations are required to complete, hosted on the university’s online portal GatorConnect, includes a subsection titled “Emotional Risk” that asks students to “select all possibilities of Emotional Risk that may apply to your event.” The options include “Sensitive Subject Matter,” “Reaction of Participants,” and “Potential Controversy.”

The university’s office of Student Activities and Involvement assigns each risk factor “a point value” which are “tallied to identify if the event will need an SAI staff presence.”

Controversy over campus events featuring conservative speakers rocked higher education last year and it’s easy to imagine this process is designed to justify greater university control over lectures and events with the potential to irritate progressive campus activists. It’s also easy to imagine the requested assessment of “emotional risk” comes in response to the concerns of a generation of college students who claim to be impacted psychologically by ideas with which they disagree and believe they should be sheltered from them.


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It might be a good idea for schools to identify events that have the potential to cause riots before they occur. Let the school take on the responsibility of providing extra security if need be. Give the school an opportunity to remind students about the code of conduct and the need for civility. Set up protest zones outside the event so that the students can voice their opposition without anyone getting hurt. Then, if something goes wrong as is want to happen, it’s on the administration and not the student group.

    tom swift in reply to jhn107. | June 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    That would be “physical” risk, and the school should indeed be prepared with whatever security arrangements would be needed to control violent protesters and such.

    But determination of that need is better left to the school’s security personnel. Those arranging for a harmless guest lecturer on, say, bird calls would not be expected to anticipate today’s wackiness; but security professionals would realize that some PETA demonstrators would be almost certain to show up, ready to riot.

    But what an “emotional risk” might be I really can’t imagine. And what the SAI staff—the ones constituting a “SAI staff presence”—might do remains nebulous; impose a bit of impromptu censorship when things do too much emotional straying? They seem reluctant to commit anything concrete to print … and I suppose we can imagine why.