He nails it.
Commencement means beginning, and so it’s natural that most commencement speakers impart advice upon the graduates as they enter the real world. A good commencement speaker will also challenge the graduates and that’s exactly what New York Times columnist Bret Stephens did at Hampden-Sydney College.
“So let me ask you: Are you ready — really ready — to leave this safe space?” the conservative columnist asked the graduates at the all-male college in Virginia.
He told them to leave the phenomenon of safe spaces behind on college campuses. Stephens pointed out the notion of “safe” spaces often comes at a cost, ironically risking things like safety and ideological freedom:
In the name of being “safe,” it is becoming increasingly difficult for campus administrators to guarantee the physical safety of controversial visiting speakers.
In the name of being “safe,” the job security of professors and administrators has been put at increasing risk — lest they espouse, teach or merely fail to denounce a point of view that contradicts the political certitudes of the moment.
In the name of being “safe,” students with traditional religious values or conservative political views now feel decidedly unsafe about expressing their views on campus.