Safe Rooms & Cry Rooms | Welcome to College with Author Ann Sterzinger | SAFETY DOC PODCAST #69

PODCAST-Misanthropic author Ann Sterzinger and host David Perrodin attempt to gain philosophical understanding of the epistemological foundation for post-secondary institutions of learning proliferating safe rooms and cry rooms across campuses. Initially the guise of art, such rooms shed temporary labels and are rooting in libraries, lecture halls, and dorms. Not invasive. Welcomed.

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Ann owns the BLACK PILL SITCOM genre, previously known as dark comedy, embracing the bleakness with a giddy sense of fun. Her specialties include dystopian sci-fi, French to English translations, and living in Chicago without getting shot once. Her books, The Talkative Corpse: A Love Letter, & NVSQVAM: (Nowhere) are available on Amazon.


A Safe Space is a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm. It’s a conceptual construct and a tangible locations with comfortable furniture, dim lighting, aroma warmers and soothing music. Such rooms dotted campuses over the past decade and their ranks atomically mushroomed following Trump winning the Presidency. This instantly ushered in a sense of unease amongst generally democratic or socialist-leaning persons. Students (and employees) typically don’t need permission to enter a Safe Space and any limitation of access to a Safe Space can be interpreted as restraint, micro-aggression or contributing to a hostile learning or work environment.


A Cry Room, on the other hand, is a much more recent exhibit of a small area for stressed-out students, often during final exams, to have an emotional purge in the privacy of an enclosure softened with stuffed animals and soothing colors. While Ann and David were not aware of Cry Rooms in locations of private employment, Safe Rooms have been available to employees in some public buildings for a few years. These rooms are often discussed with measured words and are somewhat secretive, yet embraced by many workers. Dr. Perrodin was informed by multiple persons in these settings that such rooms are frequently occupied – and not just by someone having a “rotten day”, but also by someone who is discouraged with a societal political event or simply feeling that a work task wasn’t “liked” by everyone around the conference table. Yep, “Likes” – external validation – ring a bell?


Around the country, higher education campuses are seeing a strong increase in the number of students seeking counseling services. Freshman are overwhelmed and struggling to cope with – well, with college/society/friendships/responsibility? Universities are teaching students the benefits of a brisk 10-minute walk as a stress coping mechanism. Really? Ann accidentally, but correctly stumbles upon the reason empathy has declined: No one reads novels (


“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle (384BC – 322BC)

Debate can be traced back to ancient Greece. David recalls it being championed and tactically instructed in high school until the 1980s. High school debate squads even duked it out on regularly-scheduled televised competitions. Debate is a discussion involving opposing viewpoints. It’s becoming informed, informing others and learning the art of persuasion. Debate is a life skill – and perhaps lost to the ages as the 2018 debater is badged a boat-rocker. Separate of this dystopian context, benefits of debate include being able to use words instead of weapons in preserving the non-aggression principle. Persons skilled in debate seek to understand the perspectives of others and respectfully pose arguments and listen to counter-arguments. Yet, professors have stated that students are not only unwilling to learn debate, but the entire idea of wrangling with an idea that is not aligned to their own so-called “beliefs” or knowledge set is nothing short of a perceived attack. Professors have been accused of being cruel and insensitive for even inviting students to engage in innocuous debate such as a hypothetical proposal of beginning the school day at 9:00AM instead of 7:45AM. Off to the Safe Space! Hey Professor…the Dean wants to see you after class…


Ann and David examine the fundamental pillar of education, of work, of life – that which is rigor – and now has become the source of undue mental burden. Some thought the participation trophy was an omen. Turns out it was just a light breeze that cracked the Pandora’s Box – exposing the contents to a precision-tuned culture of silencing.


Looking for Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD?

Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at

Learn More About This Episode’s Guest

Ann Sterzinger on Amazon


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