As we hurry to finish shopping for family and friends, and put the finishing touches on holiday menus, it’s easy to ignore some troubling national news from our college campuses concerning “safe spaces,” and from the Obama administration concerning immigration.

And while it’s fair enough to set these issues aside while we celebrate the Christmas season, they are issues we should follow closely after the new year as the integrity of our higher education institutions and federal immigration system impacts us all.

Marty Carlson
Marty Carlson

Although we should condemn any discrimination based on culture or race, a new movement on a number of college campuses would create “safe spaces” where students could be sheltered from dissenting views or perceived threats. Since the concept of higher education includes entertaining other viewpoints and developing the skill to oppose some of those ideas and views through informed civil discourse, this “safe space” concept surely seems at odds with the higher learning environment.

But opinions differ. According to a Fox News piece, Interim University of Missouri system president said he advocates the safe zones while noting that schools walk “a delicate balance” between safe spaces and free speech rights. “I think safe spaces are critical … I think students need spaces where they can feel comfortable. Where they can interact without fear,” said Middleton in the same Fox piece.

Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Everett Piper sees this issue from the opposite end of the spectrum. As reported in The Daily Signal, Piper’s response to an undergraduate student’s report of feeling “victimized” after a sermon on love was to advise the student that the school was “not a day care” or a “safe place,” but a “place to learn.”

Everett further advised that his school “would not follow the trend of some colleges that issue “trigger warnings” before expressing a potentially distressing or provocative idea.” Trigger warnings are yet another troublesome trend on college campuses – but perhaps best left to discuss after the first of the year. And so is the immigration issue – but it’s a critical national issue that bears our attention and voice.

At present, and best recently explained by columnist Michelle Malkin, “President Obama claims that restricting immigration in order to protect national security is “offensive and contrary to American values.” In her December 13 column, Malkin provides a worthy history lesson on how America’s Founding Fathers viewed the subject – a history of which our current President is evidently unaware.

Malkin’s column is recommended reading; it’s critical that we understand the plan for this country by those whose blood, sweat and tears formed it. Unfettered immigration is a national concern that will have significant impact on our country. We should be part of this conversation with our Congressional representatives often and insistently after the first of the year.

Marty Carlson is a columnist for the BPT. She may be reached at

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