Michael Bloomberg blasts ‘safe spaces’ during University of Michigan commencement speech

Michael Bloomberg delivers the University of Michigan commencement speech.
Michael Bloomberg delivers the University of Michigan spring commencement speech.

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

Billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized political correctness and “safe spaces” during today’s University of Michigan’s spring commencement.

The remarks drew some boos on a campus that has embraced so-called “safe places,” where marginalized groups can interact without worrying about criticism.

“One of the most dangerous places on a college campus is a so-called safe space because it creates a false impression that we can isolate ourselves from those who hold different views,” Bloomberg said to a mix of boos and cheers. “We can’t and we shouldn’t try, not in politics or in the work place.”

Bloomberg said students should get used to being criticized.

“The fact that some university boards and administrations now vow to pressure groups and shield students from these ideas through safe spaces and code words and trigger warnings in my view is a terrible mistake,” Bloomberg said. “The whole purpose of college is how to deal with difficult situations, not run away from them.”

University of Michigan student Zeinab Khalil credited safe spaces for making her feel welcome on campus.

“I wouldn’t have been able to make it past all these tough moments at Michigan if it weren’t for the safe spaces I had to turn to — places where I was welcome and didn’t have to explain my being or make disclaimers, speak in a different tone or smile extra hard to ease someone else’s prejudice,” Khalil wrote in the Michigan Daily. “Places where I could be.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.