President Barack Obama, September 2015, comments at high school town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa

President Obama

“The purpose of college is not just... to transmit skills. It’s also to widen your horizons, to make you a better citizen, to help you to evaluate information, to help you make your way through the world, to help you be more creative. The way to do that is to create a space where a lot of ideas are presented and collide, and people are having arguments, and people are testing each others’ theories... and over time, people learn from each other because they’re getting out of their own narrow point of view and having a broader point of view... When I went to college, suddenly there were some folks who didn’t think at all like me... And sometimes their views would be infuriating to me. But it was because there was this space where you could interact with people who didn’t agree with you, and had different backgrounds than you, that I then started testing my own assumptions. And sometimes I changed my mind. Sometimes I realized, you know what, maybe I’ve been too narrow minded. Maybe I didn’t take this into account. Maybe I should see this person’s perspective... I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who, you know, is too conservative, or they don’t want to read a book that has language that is offensive to African-Americans, or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. And you know, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view.”

President Barack Obama, September 2015, comments at high school town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa