Sunday, September 29, 2019

Safe Spaces v. Free Speech: Watch the HumRights Bar Debate (Video)

Posted By on Sun, Sep 29, 2019 at 1:40 PM

Over the course of about an hour one night last week, two people with diametrically opposing views on a heated topic sat in a bar and had a reasonable, civil conversation about it.

Crazy, right?

The Humboldt Center for Constitutional Rights (HumRights) hosted the debate, which saw Humboldt State University students Freddy Brewster (a Journal freelancer) and Fabian Cuevas tackle the question of whether California colleges can have both safe spaces and free speech.

click to enlarge Fabian Cuevas and Freddy Brewster debate over brews, with Marcy Burstiner moderating. - PHOTO BY ZACH LATHOURIS
  • Photo by Zach Lathouris
  • Fabian Cuevas and Freddy Brewster debate over brews, with Marcy Burstiner moderating.
HumRights Chair (and sometimes Journal columnist) Marcy Burstiner said the center’s mission is to educate people about their constitutional rights and convince them to exercise them, and the bar debate falls into that.

“I was a bit troubled that people said they weren’t going home for Thanksgiving and avoiding family gatherings because they didn’t want to get into political conversations with relatives,” Burstiner said, introducing the debate at HumBrews. “People are afraid to talk to each other. … The whole idea of the HumRights bar debate is to take people who are at polar opposite positions and put them in a bar and have them argue it out to demonstrate that we actually can have civil dialogue.”

Remarkably, the thing worked. A civil discussion was had with nary a punch thrown. And thankfully the Journal’s Zach Lathouris was there to capture the thing on video. So whether you think the world needs more safe spaces or freer speech, give it a watch and see how to discuss the matter like mature adults.

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Thadeus Greenson

Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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