Peter Fray-Witzer, a student enrolled at Oberlin College in Ohio, wrote an op-ed in a campus newspaper complaining that ‘cisgender men’ were going to install radiators in his ‘safe space’ dormitory
A student at an $80,000-a-year ultra-liberal college in Ohio is drawing ridicule online after he said he was ‘angry, scared, and confused’ because ‘cisgender men’ installed a radiator in his ‘space space’ dormitory.
Peter Fray-Witzer, a student enrolled at Oberlin College, posted an article in Friday’s edition of The Oberlin Review in which he takes school administrators to task for giving him short notice about the installation.
Fray-Witzer writes that he asked a campus official if he could be exempt from having a radiator installed in his room so as to avoid the ‘intrusion.’
He also complains that he felt ‘mildly violated’ and ‘a little peeved’ when the contractors returned to his dorm room the next day to ‘check the insulation.’
DailyMail.com has sought comment from Oberlin College.
According to Fray-Witzer, he and other residents of the on-campus dorm Baldwin Cottage received an email on October 7 notifying them that ‘contractors will be entering rooms’ the next day to install radiators.
‘This will mean that they will be in your room for a period of time to complete the work,’ Josh Matos, the area coordinator for Multicultural and Identity-Based Communities, wrote in an email.
Fray-Witzer wrote in response: ‘I had not been contacted about any sort of radiator installation before this email, so right away the word “update” stood out to me as untrue.
‘I grew concerned reading the second line, which informed me that I had less than 24 hours to prepare for the arrival of the installation crew, and I was further perturbed by the ambiguous “for a period of time”.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to Matos seeking comment.
Fray-Witzer adds in his op-ed that he was ‘very averse to people entering my personal space.’
‘This anxiety was compounded by the fact that the crew would be strangers, and they were more than likely to be cisgender men.’
‘Cisgender’ is a term used to describe someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex that they were assigned at birth.
The word is considered the antonym of ‘transgender’ – which means a person who identifies as a gender that is opposite of that which they were assigned when born.
The dorm where Fray-Witzer lives, Baldwin Cottage, is known as ‘the home of the Women and Trans Collective.’
Oberlin, the liberal arts college with a student body of 3,000, describes the dorm as ‘a close-knit community that provides women and transgendered persons with a safe space for discussion, communal living, and personal development.’
Fray-Witzer is a resident of Baldwin Cottage, an on-campus dorm at Oberlin limited to ‘anyone who identifies as female or trans, regardless of race, nationality, religion, assigned sex, or sexual orientation’
According to the school, Baldwin Cottage, which houses 30 students, is ‘open to anyone who identifies as female or trans, regardless of race, nationality, religion, assigned sex, or sexual orientation.’
The Oxford Dictionary defines a ‘safe space’ as a ‘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.’
‘Safe spaces’ are normally located on college campuses. They have prompted criticism from many who say they are being used to silence on-campus political debate and censor views that are unpopular.
Fray-Witzer writes that ‘cisgender men are not allowed to live on the second and third floors, and many residents choose not to invite cisgender men to that space.’
He added: ‘I was angry, scared, and confused. Why didn’t the College complete the installation over the summer, when the building was empty?
‘Why couldn’t they tell us precisely when the workers would be there?
‘Why were they only notifying us the day before the installation was due to begin?’
Fray-Witzer describes seeing the contractors arrive at the dorm. Before they showed us, he writes, he ‘waited apprehensively.’
‘The workers began installing in common spaces, and I could see immediately that they were all men,’ he writes.
Fray-Witzer writes that ‘cisgender men are not allowed to live on the second and third floors, and many residents choose not to invite cisgender men to that space’
‘It was clear that the College had not made a special request that male workers not be allowed onto the upper floors of Baldwin.’
Fray-Witzer continues: ‘Predicting when they would reach my room was pure guesswork.
‘I was trying to anticipate whether I would be in class when they arrived, or if I’d have to welcome strangers into my room only to be ejected to allow them space to work.’
When the contractors arrived, they knocked on the door to Fray-Witzer’s dorm room.
He writes: ‘When the insistent knock eventually came, I scrambled to get my mask on and repeatedly shouted, “Coming!” through the door.
‘Four or five construction workers stood outside, accompanied by someone who I could only assume — by his neat polo and clipboard — to be an emissary of the College.
‘We stared at each other for a moment before I moved aside to allow the workers to enter.
‘The emissary began issuing platitudes that the work wouldn’t take long and encouraged me to prop open my door.
‘I asked meekly if I could actually not have a radiator installed in my dorm.
‘I knew the answer was no before I had even said it, but hey – worth a shot.’
Fray-Witzer writes that when he returned from class, ‘Polo Man warned me’ that ‘they would return later in the week to check the insulation.’
‘I couldn’t help but think that, though there were other dorms affected by the installation, Baldwin Cottage was one of the worst places for it to occur,’ Fray-Witzer writes.
‘There are myriad reasons to want to be housed in Baldwin Cottage, but many people – myself included – choose to live there for an added degree of privacy and a feeling of safety and protection.
‘A significant portion of students choose to live in Baldwin because they are victims of sexual assault or abuse, have suffered past invasions of privacy, or have some other reason to fear cisgender men.’
On Twitter, people mocked Fray-Witzer’s article
Fray-Witzer claims that other students shared his concerns about being ‘subject to the whims of the contractors.’
‘I understand, of course, that installations like this are routine; the College needs to improve its facilities occasionally, and who am I to stand in the way of that?…But why not finish the project during the four months of the summer semester, when the building was unoccupied? Why not alert us earlier to the intrusion?’ Fray-Witzer writes.
‘They should have taken measures to keep students comfortable and safe – especially those who have elected to live in a specifically designated safe space.’
On Twitter, people mocked Fray-Witzer’s article.
‘This guy being “scared, angry, and confused” that he might be forced to interact with another male who is either straight or gay (i.e. not non-binary) is peak Oberlin,’ wrote one Twitter user.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted: ‘Students at Oberlin, which costs $80,000/year to attend, are angry and scared that the low-paid servants sent to fix their radiators are cis men.
‘Perfect illustration of how s***** identity leftism doesn’t just ignore class repression but reinforces it: Ponder the rotted roots of an ideology that convinces highly privileged and wealthy students at elite colleges that the guys who come to fix their radiators are their oppressors, and that the ones whose family is paying $80k/year are the oppressed.’
Another Twitter user commented: ‘Simple solution for the workers: Don’t install radiators in the rooms of students who don’t want you in their room. It’s not your problem.’
Another quipped: ‘Jeez, such an uncomfortable situation. My thoughts are with those who are traumatized lol.’
Wrote another commenter: ‘Will they be survivors of some kind after this?’
One Twitter user wrote that the writer’s op-ed amounted to ‘a public admission of a need for therapy.’