Safe Space Review

A sign displayed on the wall of the safe space. Photos by Erick Chairez.

A sign displayed on the wall of the safe space. Photos by Erick Chairez.

There is currently much controversy on the topic of safe spaces and what exactly their purpose is. To most conservatives, the idea of a safe space sounds silly, or even childish. To liberals, a safe space can be a safe haven where one can get some peace and emotional safety.

From what I've heard, a safe space sounds rather unnecessary, like a place where the weak-minded come to get pampered and get away from people with different opinions and escape nonexistent discrimination. This opinion is based on what I have seen and heard, but I am not one to judge a book by its silly-sounding cover, so I decided to try it out to get a real understanding.

At first glance, I was met with a colorful door that was covered in all types of weird words like transgender, ageism, heterosexism and imposter syndrome. They seemed like the types of words that millennials invent. Upon getting through the door I was immediately greeted by a handsome young man by the name of Jordan Shackles.

Seating in the safe space.

Seating in the safe space.

Everyone in the safe space was very respectful, and I was able to adjust well with them. The environment was quite vibrant and had giant letters on the wall that spelled out Center for Social Justice, which sounds silly. I had a small conversation with Shackles who turned out to be the Equity Ambassador of Chaffey College and one of the people in charge of the safe space. Shackles also added that it is Chaffey College's first time having an Equity Ambassador, thus making him a big deal. My first day visiting was short, but much progress was made.

On my second day in the safe space, Shackles and I agreed to have a deeper discussion on the purpose of the safe space. I wanted to know if it was about emotional safety or physical safety, and if anyone would stop me from speaking my mind, even if it might be offensive? Shackles explained that certain groups of people do not feel as comfortable being themselves in other areas of the campus.

"What the safe space does is provide that comfort while simultaneously providing the resources that they need," said Shackles.

For those wondering what resources the safe space offered, Shackles also mentioned that it provides a variety of resources and services such as computers, free printing, water, snacks, rooms for meets, tutoring, pamphlets and even condoms. Yes, they even provide that type of safety too. From finding all this out, I got more of a help center vibe.

The safe space is some sort of social green zone when it comes to interfering with other ideas.

A view of inside the safe space with Shackles at the desk.

A view of inside the safe space with Shackles at the desk.

"When you walk into here, everybody's first thought is you must need something, whether it's a counselor or the veterans' center," said Jordan. "We don't take second looks."

No matter how far left or right-wing you are, the safe space does not discriminate. Like Jordan said:

"Our job is not to police people, the safe space leaves the door open for healthy dialogue." You could be a left or right extremist and you will still be welcomed in the safe space.

"Maybe there's dialogue, let's talk about it," said Shackles.

Over the past few days of trying out the safe space and talking to Shackles, I realized that although the name Center for Social Justice sounds like some sort of liberal territory, it was not at all what I thought it was. It is like a help center and relaxation spot in one, all you need is a bar and some pool tables and it would be even better.

"Our biggest thing is connecting people with the resource that they need," said Shackles.

The safe space is really more about helping people, and it is most definitely of benefit. Now I cannot say that all safe spaces are good but I can for sure say that the one at Chaffey College is pretty helpful.