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Apr 04, 2017 08:18 AM EDT

College students from the Northern Arizona University have called on their school president to resign after refusing to implement or endorse safe spaces on the NAU campus. It all started during a recent Q&A forum that was hosted by NAY President Rita Cheng, a sophomore student asked Cheng how she plans to promote safe spaces on the campus.

Cheng told the student that she was not sure if she has any support for safe spaces. Cheng said she thinks students have to develop the skills to be successful in this world and that they need to provide them the opportunity for discourse, debate, dialogue and academic inquiry. She added that she's not sure safe spaces are correlated with the notion, KPNX-TV reported.

Her response resulted in action by some students. Last week, the NAU Student Action Coalition organized a protest and walkout in response to her remarks and demanded that she resign.

The students said Cheng's answer was insufficient and showed she was not ready or willing to engage in serious conversations and work toward solutions. They felt that her resignation was necessary and wanted a university President who would work to provide the purpose of higher education, which is to enrich the lives of its students, faculty, staff and larger Flagstaff community, the NAU student coalition said.

The students also said in their statement that the NAU community invested a lot of time, money and energy in the experience and that because of failed leadership they are not getting a return of investment. They were guaranteed access, quality and excelling in higher education student experiences and many experience the opposite.

Cheng's office said in response to the student statment that she was more than happy to meet with any students to address their concerns and said NAU is a safe-space campus. They said the classrooms and campus is a place for engagement and respect, and to learn from each other, The Blaze reported.

Follows Northern Arizona University, President Rita Cheng, Safe Spaces, students, NAU Student Action Coalition, Flagstaff community, classrooms, campus, higher education
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