Campus Life

President Zimmer Requests Safe Space from Concerns of Students, Workers

By Breck Radulovic
June 8, 2016

In a statement regarding the pending disciplinary action against a student protester, President Robert Zimmer expressed his desire to keep the University of Chicago campus a safe space for his administration and their supporters.

Citing the mission of the University, Zimmer said, “From its founding in 1890, the University of Chicago has been committed to open, rigorous, and intense inquiry with a shared understanding that this must be the defining feature of the University. We recognize that our most important contributions to discovery, education, and society rest on our focus, the power of our ideas, and the openness of our environment to the development and testing of these ideas.

“Unfortunately certain members of the student body have taken this statement of ‘inquiry,’ ‘the power of ideas,’ and ‘openness of environment’ to apply to them, and not exclusively to my fellow administrators and myself. When the student in question sought to exercise his right to free speech on this campus, he infringed upon my right as an administrator to not have to listen to the concerns of the student body.”

Zimmer clarified that his unequivocal support for free speech and inquiry did not include the student body. “I am writing today to reiterate my support for free inquiry into whether or not student protests hurt my feelings. Furthermore, I have the right to openly, rigorously, and intensely inquire into expelling students who try to make me do my job.”

Not entirely oblivious to student concerns, Zimmer addressed requests to reform the Core. “Obviously, this protester has not learned enough from his time at the University to earn a diploma. We expect our graduates to have been beaten into submission. This is why I am supporting a change to the Core to teach students the value of servility and meekness.”

In response to demands to increase the pay of University employees, a central feature of the student protests, Zimmer announced his intention to raise his own salary. “Although I was made to feel incredibly unsafe by the presence of students in a building funded by their tuition dollars, it should not be said that I was completely deaf to their claims. In fact, I agree that the average wage of University staff should be increased. That is why I will be tripling my average annual salary.”

Zimmer concluded his statement by reiterating the immense personal distress caused by the protests. “After recent events, I feel that the campus climate has become too hostile for me to remain in Hyde Park. This fear has forced me to seek another residence, a new 3.25 million dollar home on the Near North Side. If the University will not protect me from the free expression of its students, I must do it myself.”

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