Video, Other Updates: Bloomberg Draws Wider Coverage of UM Remarks on 'Safe Spaces'

May 02, 2016, 3:14 PM by  Alan Stamm

Update, Monday afternoon: National news sites catch up with provocative remarks Saturday by Michael Bloomberg at the University of Michigan's spring commencement.

Two days after The Michigan Daily reported that some graduates cursed and booed him, as we summarize below, other media focus on this speech's controversial parts. 

Gawker is among national sites catching up two days after commencement in Ann Arbor.

"Michael Bloomberg booed at University of Michigan for ripping into 'safe spaces,' " a Washington Times headline says Monday morning. Other sites posting coverage today include Yahoo NewsGawker, Politico, The Daily CallerBreitbart News, The Hill in Washington, D.C., and Business Insider. Huffington Post picked up the story Sunday night.

Bloomberg's full text is on his website.

A brief video excerpt (below), posted Saturday on YouTube by the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at UM, has more than 29,000 viewings.     

Original article, Saturday afternoon:

Dealing with nasty comments and uncomfortable situations is part of real life, University of Michigan commencement speaker Michael Bloomberg told spring graduates Saturday in a blunt speech that drew jeers and epithets, according to The Michigan Daily.

The former New York mayor derided the push on campuses for "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings" about potentially objectionable course content. 

Michael Bloomberg: “The whole purpose of college is to learn how to deal with difficult situations -- not run away." (ABC News photo)

Shoham Geva and Emma Kerr, the student paper's top editors, report on Bloomberg's address and reactions at Michigan Stadium:

He said the use of safe spaces prevents students from learning about difficult experiences they will encounter outside of the university.

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

He cautioned against limiting expression.

“One of the most dangerous places on a college campus is a safe space because it creates the false impression that we can insulate ourselves from those who hold different views,” Bloomberg said. “In the global economy, and in a democratic society, an open mind is the most valuable asset you can possess.”

His remarks drew a mixed response from the assembled crowd of graduates and parents, with both noticeable booing and clapping throughout the stadium. During several parts of Bloomberg’s speech, students could be heard yelling epithets at him.

Bloomberg reinforced his thrust in a post-speech tweet. "An open mind will be essential to success," he says while congratulating the Class of '16 . 

The campus newspaper quotes two graduates in the audience:  

  • “The idea of microaggressions is real. I don’t think it was very wise to minimize that.” -- Kevin Kinney, who earned a master's degree from the School of Information
  • “I was glad that he said things that were maybe a little bit controversial. . .  There was definitely a mixed reaction from the students." -- Grant Goodstein, who graduated from the School of Literature, Science and the Arts

​A graduating senior from Orlando, Fla., tweets sharply: 

This 90-second excerpt from the address has been seen more than 29,000 times on YouTube in two days:

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