Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Brown University

The irony of civilly protesting incivility

The irony of civilly protesting incivility

Recent protests at Yale, the University of Missouri and Towson University, among other schools, standing up for minority students have renewed attention to the roles of political correctness and freedom of expression on college campuses and sparked a nation-wide debate about whether universities should even strive to be so-called "safe spaces."

In one breath, some dismiss such efforts as coddling and declare that college must be a place where young people confront dangerous ideas and challenge the foundations of political correctness. But in the next breath, they also call for "civility" — itself a form of safe space.

There is an inherent...