A university in Cleveland created a “safe space” for students that were too traumatized by the sight of police officers on campus during the Republican National Convention to proceed with their daily activities. Some police officers that provided security for the RNC, which took place only a few miles away from the campus at the Quicken Loans Arena, were allowed to stay on campus for the duration of the convention. The sight of the officers was too much for some of the more sensitive students to handle. They claimed they were traumatized by the sight of armed officers on campus.
Case Western Reserve University, a private university costing upwards of $60,000 per year, announced in a school-wide news letter that they would be creating a “safe space” for the students in the basement of Crawford Hall.
The university also offered counseling sessions for students through the university’s LGBT center and social justice institute. Approximately 1,900 officers stayed on campus in vacant dorm rooms for the duration of the convention. Hundreds of additional officers were brought in to handle the rowdy crowds and protestors that were expected to be far more volatile than past conventions due to the recent racial tensions brought on by anti-police violence in Dallas and other cities across the U.S.
Students and professors alike were outraged by the presence of what they called “riot police.” They launched a petition spearheaded by one particularly crass professor that requested to remain anonymous. He wrote in an angry op-ed:
“Case Western Reserve University, which ‘improves and enriches people’s lives through research…and education,’ will be ground zero for the storm troopers you will watch on national news next week.”
Along with creating a safe space the students the petition called for police firearms to be stored off-campus, officers to be denied entrance to any other university building but their assigned residence halls, and that all alcohol and other “mind-altering substances” to be banned from the officer’s residence for the duration of their stay.
Rather than focus on creating safe spaces to protect the ego’s of the students the school took actual precautions to protect the lives of the students. School administrators cancelled nearly all on-campus operations for the entire duration of the convention for fear that the officers themselves could be targets for an attack. Professors were instructed to cancel classes and the 280 students that remained on campus for summer courses were asked to find alternative living arrangements for the duration of the convention.