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Warning Labels On College Courses?

Some college students are demanding professors put warning labels on courses and books that might offend. And many profs are offended by that.

This Feb. 5, 2014 file photo shows a statue of a man sleepwalking in his underpants, called "Sleepwalker," which was part of an exhibit by sculptor Tony Matelli, surrounded by snow on the campus of Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Mass. A student started an online petition to have it moved indoors because it had become “a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault.” (AP)

This Feb. 5, 2014 file photo shows a statue of a man sleepwalking in his underpants, called “Sleepwalker,” which was part of an exhibit by sculptor Tony Matelli, surrounded by snow on the campus of Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Mass. A student started an online petition to have it moved indoors because it had become “a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault.” (AP)

Should college student assigned “The Great Gatsby” be forewarned that it contains scenes of “gory, abusive, misogynistic violence”?  Should undergrads reading “Huckleberry Finn” get a boldprint warning label of racism – and permission to duck it?  A new push on college campuses is calling for “trigger warnings” up front on potentially disturbing readings and more.  Advocates say it’s to protect the vulnerable.  Critics say it’s hypersensitivity run amuck and a veiled attack on free speech, robust scholarship.  This hour On Point:  Trigger warnings, and what American college kids can handle.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jennifer Medina, Southern California / Nevada correspondent for the New York Times. (@jennymedina)

Raechel Tiffe, visiting assistant professor of gender and communication, public communication and mass communication at Merrimack College.

Laurie Essig, associate professor of sociology and women’s and gender studies, Middlebury College. (@LaurieEssig)

Charles Mitchell, executive vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives.

Justin Peligri, managing director of the GW Hatchet. (@JustinPeligri)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm – “Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as ‘trigger warnings,’ explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: Trigger Warnings Trigger Me — “Trigger warnings are a very dangerous form of censorship because they’re done in the name of civility. Learning is painful. It’s often ugly and traumatic. How different my life would be if I hadn’t read Crime and Punishment because it’s misogynist and violent. How terrible my teaching would be if I hadn’t spent years researching spectacle lynchings and eugenics and freak shows in order to teach courses on race and American culture.”

GW Hatchet: Why we need trigger warnings on syllabi – “Nobody is arguing that controversial topics should be omitted from discourse in college classrooms. Faculty are right to be concerned when they sense that their ability to speak candidly and fearlessly about heart-wrenching topics could be blockaded.”

William Bowen To Haverford College Graduates: “This Was No Victory For Anyone Who Believes In Mutual Respect”

William Bowen, President Emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University

Transcript Of Bowen’s Remarks

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  • brettearle

    Warning:

    Sheltering students, potentially, from Life’s difficulties and Life’s traumas will prolong adolescence and make students even less prepared for the real world than they already are.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      For once, I agree.

      • brettearle

        Then, I must be way off base.

        I shall petition for a Retraction.

      • brettearle

        DISQUS

  • brettearle

    Warning:

    Adding a dimension of political correctness to Academia, increases the potential for Censorship and the erosion of Free Speech.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      Absolutely.

      • brettearle

        Again, I give myself the same fair warning, as below.

  • X Y & Z

    When the insanity of liberalism becomes too liberal, even for for liberals.

    • J__o__h__n

      Conservatives censor and whine as much if not more so than liberals. It wasn’t the liberals who shut down Harvard’s satanic mass. It wasn’t the liberals who issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie (although many failed to defend him). It wasn’t the liberals burning Beatles albums. It wasn’t the liberals claiming Harry Potter books encourage sorcery.

      • notafeminista

        No it’s the liberals who don’t like the classics, from which all the the others you mentioned are sourced.

        • Ray in VT

          Wow, it’s a good thing that you cleared that one up.

          • notafeminista

            We can start here. ..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/us/warning-the-literary-canon-could-make-students-squirm.html?_r=0
            The story does not appear to be from the Op-Ed section, although I may have missed it. It does appear to be a news story, and presumably a factual one. Given the story says that these trigger warnings have basis in feminist thought, and we know…we know! that conservatives abhor all things feminist, it’s not a huge leap to say, just on the basis of this one news story, that it is the liberals who want to censor or warn or just do away with altogether…the classics.

          • Ray in VT

            Labeling and censoring are two pretty different things. Surely even you can see the difference between a “trigger warning” and the censoring, or book banning, to which J_O_H_N refers above.

          • notafeminista

            Tch. You completely sidestepped who is asking for the trigger warnings. Deliberately?

          • Ray in VT

            I am discounting your equating the two, and I am referring to the original content of J_O_H_N’s comment, and I am doing those things deliberately.

          • notafeminista

            Interesting point. Probably depends on who and what is doing the labeling and what or who is being labeled I suspect. But again, this whole business, which the board seems to ..at first blush anyway, find troubling at the least and could in its extreme, possibly lead to real and significant censorship, has its roots in (according to the NYT) feminist thought, which we know…is not a conservative anything.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, is it a slippery slope? I think that labeling is largely counter-productive. Public libraries have tried to put dots on YA books for things like drugs, swears and sex, and it just acts like a magnet for how kids can find the juicy books.

            Agreed, conservatism traditionally hasn’t really found much of anything useful in any sort of political or social movement that has empowered the powerless.

        • jefe68

          Are you serious? Are you really trying to frame yourself as a fool?

          • notafeminista

            Pft. Haven’t you already decided I am one? You don’t need the likes of me to frame it for you.

          • jefe68

            A fool who believes in magical thinking.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    The picture of the man sleepwalking in his underwear is probably part of an “art appreciation” college course that students go tens or hundreds of thousands into debt to take and that left wingers like Bernie Sanders then use to support the need for more government handouts (e.g. “student debt is outrageously high and the federal government should do something about it”…namely forgive the debt of the poor college student taking this and other worthless “feel good” courses).

    • jimino

      Is your comment part of some right-wing conservative performance art piece exploring the degree of stupidity people of that ilk will accept as faux-intellectual discourse?

      • HonestDebate1

        Wow, that’s heavy. I had to read it twice. You’re the real deal. But don’t you think there is some truth to what FR writes? College has become a farce of itself in many cases. The irony is, respect remains high for the notion any college degree is better than no college degree. This respect is proven with readily available loans for people willing to go into debt to study some nutty professor’s idea of what matters.

        • jefe68

          “some nutty professor’s idea of what matters”…

          There it is, the anti intellectual meme.
          You forgot to mention elitism and how science is wrong.

          • HonestDebate1

            I am making a case for intellectual achievement not against it.

          • Ray in VT

            The bulk of your comments is a prime example of the sort of anti-intellectual achievement that compels some to disrespect individuals, such as the supposed “nutty professor”, of some achievement, while exalting some twaddle that they’ve dug up from some guy’s web page that does not hold up to historical fact or critical analysis.

          • HonestDebate1

            “… are a prime example of…”

          • Ray in VT

            Like with your “scientist are” comments I refuse to be a slave to verb agreement issues.

          • jefe68

            If you are, it’s not apparent.

        • jimino

          I agree there is a valid point to be made about the usefulness and high cost of college nowadays, but that’s not really FR’s point now, is it?

      • jefe68

        Indeed it seems to be just that.

    • brettearle

      In other words, excessive student debt doesn’t either inhibit or destroy human endeavor; obliterate the spirit; trample the future potential of the country; and doesn’t make human beings, essentially, indentured servants, for decades to come.

      Why, yes, you must be right:

      That looks like a job for Superman, not the Federal Government.

    • jefe68

      Did you not read the caption that was under the image?
      Apparently not.

      Why is it that some right wingers on this forum see fit to use every show as platform for their distorted irrational worldview. What’s sad is that there is some thread of the content that has merit but it is mostly buried in mendacious irrelevance. Oh, you forgot to mention Benghazi.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Funny, I was thinking that liberals use each show as a forum for their distorted but politically correct worldview. My mistake.

        • jefe68

          I’m not a liberal. And I do not subscribe to political correctness.
          We can keep going back and forth, but it’s a waste of time. To me you post extreme right wing nonsense. I’ll leave it that.

      • notafeminista

        Maybe you should read michiganjf’s post above. … speaking of using the post as a forum for one’s own worldview. It’s interesting stuff.

        • jefe68

          You know, I have a hard time even responding to someone who admits to believing in angels let alone taking anything they say seriously.

          • notafeminista

            Oddly enough that’s why I suggested you read it. Presumably you have enough native intelligence and critical thinking ability to decide for yourself.
            Dang.

          • jefe68

            I did read it. And your point is what exactly?

    • Ray in VT

      Seems to me to be the sort of stumbling about blind and nearly naked that I have seen from those in college who come in thinking that the one big, old book that they revere holds the answers to all of the questions at hand.

  • Markus6

    When I first saw this, for an instant I thought it might be April 1 and this was a goof. Second reaction had me asking if these people were so fragile that simply reading something created psychological damage. Imagine having to work with someone this unstable. But my guess is a couple students somewhere asked for something like this and some academics or advocates (is there a difference these days) want a book or some attention and so are riding it. Inotherwords, asking for this kind of protection is extremely rare and exaggerated.

    And btw, PTSD already has skeptics to its’ validity as a medical condition. Doesn’t it diminish it further when students at Middlebury or Wellesley college claim they got it from reading offensive material? Not that I think they really would claim that.

    And the sleepwalker really is creepy looking.

  • Shag_Wevera

    How about just put a warning label on the college application. “Danger. Not all ideas expressed at this institution of learning will be in your fat, lazy comfort zone”.

  • Michiganjf

    I recall the period in the 1990s when frat boys and sorority girls began to think it was their duty to whine en masse about college courses which clashed with their stunted, conservative world view.

    They started a process of recording their displeasure with certain professors on large sheets of butcher paper, which were posted in hallways at the end of each semester, ostensible intended to “shame” professors with whom they disagreed, or who gave them a hard time or poor grade for their idiotic, backward views (indeed, I recall well some of these TRULY moronic views quite well).

    If they didn’t like a particular prof’s course material, bombardment campaigns were begun to try and slam the individual.
    Ultimately, the tempting tactic began to gain popularity with non-frats, as it was a powerful tool of retaliation against profs with whom one had a beef of some sort.

    The foundation had been laid to attack professors when 9/11 came along, and suddenly even tenured professors began to suffer retaliation for teaching the truth to deniers who didn’t want to hear the truth. Conservative university administrators, who had long resented the protection of tenure for professors with whom they disagreed, saw their moment… suddenly tenure itself was under attack nationally, and many voices which spoke truth to power were intimidated or silenced altogether.

    There was long an attempt to push in this direction, but it gained impetus in the 1990s, finally coming to a head after 9/11.

    Those who were associated with Universities throughout this period will recall the trend well enough.

    Frat boys have long run corporate America and government, but they finally got their way in American higher education as well, and we all now suffer for it.

    If the butcher paper tactic had never happened, the internet would eventually have accomplished the same task for conservatives of silencing or intimidating voices with whom they disagree, but it was hard to foresee just how successful they would be in shutting down discourse.

    Now, truth, facts, science, scholarship, etc.. are all almost meaningless, as conservatives who run everything have the power and mediums to push their backward views thoroughly enough to affect the opinions of some 50% of America… unfortunately, it’s the wealthiest and most vocal 50%.

    WE ALL HAVE LOST, AND AMERICA AND THE WORLD IS SUFFERING FOR IT!

  • Ed75

    The movie ‘God is not dead’ gives some insight into the situation on college campuses, good and bad.

    • J__o__h__n

      Dead implies that he ever existed.

      • Ed75

        It seems to me that dead implies that someone once existed and now doesn’t, but that’s the thing about God, he either is and has always been, or has never been at all. Nietsche’s phrase is ‘God is dead in the hearts and minds of my countrymen’, which indeed can be the case.

    • Leonard Bast

      The movie “God is Not Dead” is made up out of whole cloth, and it reflects far more the muddle that goes on inside the head of conservative Christians than any reality on college campuses. It grows wearying that any time a purported Christian is asked to exercise his rational brain, he immediately cries foul and dons the cloak of victimhood.

      • Ed75

        It was indeed unapologetically evangelical, which, for a Catholic, is a bit lacking. But It seems to just argue that one can’t say that one knows that God does not exist. Even Mr. Dawkins admits this, he said that in his view God’s existence is ‘Very, very unlikely’. (The movie doesn’t argue that God does exist except by the action of the story).

        • Ray in VT

          Proving that God does or does not exist does not seem possible.

  • Coastghost

    This program is devoted to juvenile intellectuality guided by puerile affectivity, or to puerile intellectuality guided by infantile affectivity?
    (MAYBE the sociologist on hand can tell us reliably . . . .)

    • Bigtruck

      You keep saying that. Sock hops may be gone but rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well, moving kids and scaring parents.

      • Coastghost

        If it’s not dead, surely it deserves to be by now: rock ‘n’ roll has contributed to Technogenic Climate Change with its power requirements, the carbon spewed from so many concert tours, the degradation of the ozone from so much jet-setting. I mean, all the songs about kids and cars from the 1960s and 1970s are TOTALLY INCORRECT POLITICALLY today: which only goes to show exactly how UNCRITICALLY rock ‘n’ roll was taken up and celebrated back in the day, even after the advent of Earth Day in 1970.

  • jefe68

    This is absurd. Period.

  • skelly74

    WARNING: The debt you are about to incur may be unnecessary if you instead want to sign up for a library card, or purchase used books for pennies on the dollar. You may find a specific curriculum with a simple internet search of interested degrees of study.

    The money you don’t spend can be saved to purchase a home. You may also save up and travel the world for a couple years and really discover cultural diversity.

    You can instead buy some landscaping equipment and learn the value of hard work and business while enjoying the great outdoors.

    You can save your money and jump right into the hospitality industry and in four years you will be training and supervising your college bound graduates who will be baffled that their sense of entitlement had come to a sudden and expensive end.

  • John Cedar

    WARNING: Your future boss would not take this course and they don’t want you to either.

    Then again, they wouldn’t pick your major either.

  • Leonard Bast

    The whole point of a liberal arts education is to challenge one’s assumptions and experiences. Education is supposed to unsettle you, to shake you up, to make you think about new and sometimes difficult things in new and sometimes difficult ways. What this whole issue ultimately tells us is that there are too many students enrolled in four-year-liberal arts colleges and universities who are not equipped emotionally or intellectually to be there.

  • Ray in VT

    Courses should contain ideas that some may find offensive. Much great literature contains at least some scenes that are likely to unsettle some, and I don’t know how people can get to college without realizing that. The same is true for history. If one isn’t ready to read about and talk about some pretty horrible stuff, then one probably shouldn’t take too many history classes.

    • jefe68

      It’s coddling to the extreme in my opinion.
      The course description should suffice.
      How do you teach a course on the Civil War without having content about slavery and the carnage of the battles?

      • Ray in VT

        Poorly would be my reply to your question.

        If only we could get the unpleasant stuff out of the history books, like how the Founding Fathers owned slaves.

        • J__o__h__n

          It isn’t the liberals who like to ignore that fact.

          • notafeminista

            No the liberals like to ignore other things like the 3/5ths compromise, how free blacks were not part of white abolitionist society (save John Brown) and how it was white Christians who promoted the abolitionist movement in the first place.
            God love the lefties.

          • J__o__h__n

            The slave owners wanted the 3/5 compromise. Freed blacks were involved in the abolitionist movement. Christians were on both sides of the slavery debate.

          • notafeminista

            No they didn’t. (by the way in 1787, 12 of the 13 colonies were slave owning). Smaller more populous colonies wanted the 3/5th compromise as the squabble was over population v. geography. Geographically smaller colonies with higher populations didn’t want geographically larger colonies to count their slaves in their population.

          • J__o__h__n

            And allowing the slaves to be counted as a portion helped the southern states.

          • notafeminista

            So it wasn’t the slave owning states who would not want all the slaves counted. The 3/5th compromise means only “3 of 5 all other persons” (excluding Indians not taxed, free persons, and those bound to service for a number of years) would be counted. Limiting the eligible, representable population in this way would not have benefited a slave holding state.

          • J__o__h__n

            The slave owning states would want them counted. It would benefit the slave states as it increased their representation. I don’t see how the 3/5 compromise fits into your narrative about liberals.

          • jefe68

            You don’t? Come on, did not get the right wing meme memo? They have to steer all content into being a negative about anyone left of center. Or in the case of the how far the right as gone from the center, anyone in the center. Those to the left of center are now die hard communist.

            You are right however, the liberal thing is silly, or dare I say an uninformed comment.

          • notafeminista

            Again, I will direct you to Michiganjf just a few posts above.

          • jefe68

            That’s neither here nor there.
            I was not commenting on Michiganjf’s post. Nice try at a diversionary tactic.

          • notafeminista

            Yeah I saw your edit. Harder to tell before you changed it.

          • notafeminista

            It wasn’t the slave holding colonies who promoted the 3/5th compromise. The compromise says that only 3 of 5 all other persons would be counted. That doesn’t help the slave holding colonies.
            So when lefties carry on about slaves not being counted as a whole person ..it wasn’t the slave holders who didn’t want to count them all.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, they (slave holding states) wanted the slaves to count, even though they didn’t have rights and weren’t even though of really as people, therefore each free person in a slave holding state would have greater electoral power than a free person in a free state, and the effect would be more pronounced in the states with larger slave populations.

          • hennorama

            notafeminista — I think you both forget that the 3/5ths Compromise involved both

            “Representation and direct taxes,” being “apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union”

            so those States with higher populations of “all other persons” would both benefit from lower taxes, and, OTOH, have lower Representation.

          • J__o__h__n

            Those vast plantations in Rhode Island weren’t going to tip the balance. It was a compromise – the smaller states got equal representation in the senate.

          • notafeminista

            Actually it was the slave trade in Rhode Island and northern tier colonies that took over after England discontinued slave trading that would shift the balance.
            I wonder how much of Harvard’s initial endowment came from monies earned by slave ships.

          • notafeminista

            And yet the 1787 Compromise passed. It wasn’t ‘southern slave holding’ states who wanted it.

          • Ray in VT

            Who’s ignoring the price that had to be paid to satiate the electoral college desires of slaveholders? How did people of African descent fare in conservative society of the day? At least they all had jobs and places to live, even if they could be literally sold down the river.

          • notafeminista

            See my post below, then try again.

          • Ray in VT

            Read the facts about the slave populations of the various states at that point and see who stood to benefit from the compromise the most, and then try again.

          • notafeminista

            The compromise meant not all slaves would be counted. It wasn’t slave holding colonies who promoted it. There were something like 650,000 slaves in what became the US in 1787. The compromise says that only 3 of those 5 650,000 will be counted. It wasn’t slave holding states who promoted it. So when lefties carry on about how slaves “weren’t even counted as whole persons” it wasn’t the slave holders promoting that idea.

          • Ray in VT

            Read my post below. Slave holding states wanted slaves to count for Electoral College purposes, but to not have any other rights.

          • notafeminista

            And non slave holding colonies didn’t want to count them all. Which was the original point.

          • Ray in VT

            Why count property? My ancestors didn’t get to count a horse for population purposes, and legally a slave and a horse were both property that could be bought, sold and treated as the owner saw fit.

          • notafeminista

            Ha! Isn’t that a slippery slope. You either have to agree that a slave is property in order not to count him, or agree a slave is part of the population and agree to count him. Sticky indeed.

          • Ray in VT

            The slave holders could always have just reclassified what they called property as citizens and then counted all citizens. Seeing, though, as how they had no interest in providing people whom they considered to be property with any rights, beyond what would only be of benefit to the owners, then that seems unlikely. It seems like they wanted it both ways: own people, because they weren’t really people, but count them as people in order to benefit their regional political power.

          • notafeminista

            As opposed to those who SAID they were people but didn’t want to count them as such…incidentally, if you don’t get counted, you don’t get rights either.

          • Ray in VT

            Why count them and further support the slave power?

          • notafeminista

            Read the history. It wasn’t about supporting the “slave power” it was about power period. The geographically smaller states didn’t want slave holding states to have what they saw as (and probably was) a double advantage in both size and number. However, they didn’t give a flip about giving anyone other than themselves power or they would have insisted on counting ALL the slaves as well. Or maybe they thought only 3 of 5 slaves were entitled to self-evident truth. Again, you don’t get rights if you don’t get counted.

          • Ray in VT

            Who wanted to count slaves more fully? The states that had significant numbers of slaves. Why? Because they wanted more for their states. There were fears that if only free persons were counted, then a balance of power could tip to free(r) states, and if more political power was held by free(r) states, then the “peculiar institution” could be legislatively assaulted by the Federal government. The size problem was settled, in terms of political representation, by the Senate.

            Perhaps you are unaware of what compromise was. Some wanted slaves fully counted. Some wanted them not counted, so there was a compromise that gave the slave states some measure of the counting that they wanted. The slave states would have surely liked full counting, but it wouldn’t go.

          • notafeminista

            Non slave holders didn’t want them counted period. With or without citizenship. Offering slaves citizenship and votes doesn’t solve the population advantage.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, so free people of color were not counted in the census? Good to know. I guess that when the Constitution refers to “free Persons” it doesn’t really mean “free Persons”. What exactly is the basis for your claim that such is the case?

          • J__o__h__n

            How does any of that fit your claim that it should be used to blame liberals?

          • notafeminista

            Historically it has been the lefties calling out the 3/5ths Compromise.

          • Ray in VT

            So, “lefties” wanted to count them as 3/5s of a person, while conservatives, except for electoral counts, wanted to treat them as 0/5s of a person. The “lefties” were still way ahead in their thinking.

          • notafeminista

            LOL! Ok, that’s good. The lefties get credit for not counting them all, but the righties who did want to count them all get dinged. Sir, I stand in admiration of your logic.

          • Ray in VT

            Who was it that wanted them to not be people at all, except when it helped them get more power in Congress?

          • J__o__h__n

            What was the benevolence that the right showered upon the slaves by counting them? More representation for their owners that trickled down to them?

          • notafeminista

            To Ray and John – you can’t have it both ways. Either you take umbrage at the fact that not all slaves were counted and you lay that at the feet of the one non slave owning colony that would have benefited…..or accept the fact that slave holding colonies did want to count all the slaves, but not treat them as free persons other than as part of a population. Which do you want?

          • J__o__h__n

            That doesn’t make any sense. There was absolutely no benefit to the slave whether he or she was counted or not. The 3/5 compromise was a symptom of the problem of slavery not its equal. The states that would benefit from increased representation were the states with large numbers of slaves.

          • notafeminista

            Exactly. So why would they have agreed to counting fewer of them? And as I stated above, not getting counted absolutely guarantees you won’t get any rights.

          • Ray in VT

            Because 3/5s was the best that the slave states who wanted full counting could get.

          • notafeminista

            Y’know that is some trick. Refuse to count slaves as part of the population in the interest of political expediency and then blame the other guy for your rationale. No wonder PJ O’Rourke says it takes years of therapy to end up at the liberal mindset.

          • Ray in VT

            I guess that you’re right. The delegates from the free(r) states should have just thrown in the towel and let the the slave states fully count all of the people that they considered to be property so that they could more fully dominate legislation and the legislative process. More of the sorts of deep thoughts that I grew up calling meadow muffins. I find that the only thing necessary for a conservative mindset is some ignorance, some confidence and generally a lack of a good understanding of history. It seems to have worked wonders for you.

          • notafeminista

            Your statement indicates you believe the non slave state didn’t want to count slaves for the benefit of the slaves – as though they had some higher enlightenment. They didn’t. It was for the sake of their own political advantage – period. They wanted the slave states to bend to their will. This wasn’t a case of the non slave state acting on some noble impulse – oh no no. They wanted the advantage plain and simple – the slaves did not enter into it, except not to count them. and thus guarantee them NO rights. The slave states were at least willing to open the door.

          • Ray in VT

            Your usual slave-state fellating horse flop is noted. The slavers wanted to treat people like cattle, except when it could give them more power, but that was sort of the basis of the whole system of slavery: the exploitation of some for the enrichment of others.

            James Madison quotes Gouvernour Morris of Pennsylvania as follows regarding the compromise: “Upon what principle is it that the slaves shall be computed in representation? Are they men? Then make them Citizens and let them vote. Are they property? Why is no other property included?” It seems that he at least, and also very likely Benjamin Franklin, held some “noble impulses” regarding slavery, but hey, if you want to whine about the poor South and how the bad North was just trying to dominate it, then go right ahead. It sounds like you have been well-educated in the sort of neo-Confederate, “the South will rise again” b.s. that runs strongly among certain groups. My condolences for you regarding this affliction.

          • notafeminista

            Oh do stop. If “the North” did not want a full counting of the slaves from “the South” then all they had to do was offer to count them all and make citizenship dependent on the counting. “The South” never would have agreed. But no, instead they ended up with this half-baked mess and the 60% who did get counted didn’t get anything anyway. So much for the noble impulse(s) of “the North.” By the by, maybe read the entire Wikipedia entry on your Gouvernour Morris who also thought the “savage state was more favorable for liberty than the civilized state”.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh indeed, how terrible of them that they did not cave to every demand of the slave states. What devils they were. It was far more honest to treat people as property, to buy, to sell, to rape and to dispose of those non-peoples as was seen fit, but to demand that they be counted as people in the one legislative instance when it could further enhance the slave owners power. At least they were consistent in their inconsistent approach to who exactly were the “all men” who were entitled to liberty.

            Oh you really nailed Gouvernour Morris. Bravo indeed. You fail, though, to note the context of the quote, which was that “civilized society” tended, throughout history, to move towards aristocracy, where the powerful could dominate and buy the weak, whereas the “savage” possibly referred to concepts such as the “noble savage” or Native American societies, which were sometimes seen as more egalitarian in a sort of utopian sort of way. Try reading more of the Wikipedia entry, and maybe something else as well that doesn’t come from so oh woe is the poor South clap-trap.

          • jefe68

            I have one word for this absurd comment: rubbish.

          • notafeminista

            Actually it appears you had two. “Unpack your adjectives” – Schoolhouse Rock

          • jefe68

            No, rubbish is one word.

          • notafeminista

            Absurd rubbish = two words.

  • J__o__h__n

    WARNING: Life can be offensive.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that any decent library should have something that is offensive to someone.

      • brettearle

        Not just `should’, but `would’.

    • hennorama

      J__o__h__n — I am offended by your warning.

      Please post a WARNING! [trigger] warning label on it.

      • brettearle

        Warning!

        Satire is my territory….

        `Member??

        You want to wind up like Swayze in “Ghost” when he first got on to the subway, in his new AfterLife iteration–and he was barging in, on sacred paranormal territory, already claimed and staked out?

        • hennorama

          brettearle — TYFYR.

          As might be heard on the playground: “I gotchyer ” ‘Member” right here, pal.

          And you can keep your Scared Ivy Attic Alarm Apron, too (whatever that is).

          • brettearle

            Where is that from, please–so that I don’t feel like an Outsider?

          • hennorama

            brettearle — TYFYR.

            My apologies. I figured that it was obvious that

            “sacred paranormal territory” = Scared Ivy Attic Alarm Apron.

            My bad.

          • brettearle

            You haven’t activated the anagram part of your Brain in a while–so I wasn’t ready for it.

            Please don’t forget the encoded acronyms [aside from TYFYR]. Never forget those.

            …..I am going to assume that you are familiar with the Film scene…

            And..the way OKC’s goin’, without Ibaka, it actually might be a good idea, after all, if Pop acquired Fisher and played him–in exchange for a 2nd opinion from the best orthopedist in Houston.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — no worries, and understood.

            Yes, I am familiar.

            SAS has won on their court, as they should have. OKC has a very difficult task ahead, but stranger things have happened. Of course, they need to win 80 or 100 percent of the next games in order to get to The Finals.

            NBL, as the Brits say.

  • Coastghost

    No Titus Andronicus for today’s sensitive little tykes! (There’s even some eye-gouging in Lear their tender sensibilities might object to.)
    To hear these precious little scholars bellyaching, they all require PTSD screenings and treatments just for considering some of the abstract dimensions of human experience.

  • Secretoski

    Seems like there is a big market for these personal isolation chambers…
    https://homes.yahoo.com/blogs/spaces/shut-out-the-world-in-your-own-personal-isolation-chamber-214903593.html

  • notafeminista

    Y’know ….this idea might have some merit to it after all. It would explain why some news sources (mainstream, well-known news sources) are not welcome on the forum. Maybe posts including quotes from say… WSJ, the Weekly Standard, or Forbes for example should include trigger warnings.

    • Ray in VT

      Considering the factual problems in many of the stories cited by those folks who are more prone to reference the sources that you have mentioned, I think that taking them with a grain of salt is entirely justified. The Journal does some fine work on the news side, but the opinion aspect is pretty largely one sided.

      • notafeminista

        Interesting point. And to those who would say the NYT is equally one sided the other direction your response would be what?

        • Ray in VT

          Is that why people like David Brooks and Ross Douthat do op-eds for the New York Times?

          • notafeminista

            Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

          • Ray in VT

            So then the odds are that you will be right at some point.

          • notafeminista

            As will the NYT.

          • Ray in VT

            Feel free to get your “news” from the Forbes opinion pages or the partisan press, such as the Weekly Standard. I’m sure that they’re much better at reporting the “facts” behind Obama’s many “scandals” which the lame stream media can’t seem to find factual bases.

          • notafeminista

            “The partisan press” and to what entities might you be referring specifically? Other than the Weekly Standard.

          • Ray in VT

            I referred to one source. Did you miss it? Some aspects of the other are, I think, ideological, economically speaking.

          • notafeminista

            You referred to the source I mentioned. I’m just curious to know who you think, without prompting, is a member of what you refer to as the partisan press. Although you may be using partisan in the inclusive sense, and your response, should you choose to provide one, could surprise me.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that I will let my words “speak” for me. If you have difficulty either reading or understanding them, then I would advise you to try reading them again.

          • notafeminista

            ….or not.

          • Ray in VT

            Too challenging? Maybe I could put it in a picture book format for you.

          • notafeminista

            One thousand pardons, I meant your response was altogether unsurprising.

          • Ray in VT

            Why? Because as I had already answered your questioned I declined to do so again?

          • notafeminista

            Nope.

          • Ray in VT

            Always glad to disappoint you.

          • notafeminista

            Oh you never do.

          • brettearle

            Ray, if we spend time pointing out how NYT includes journalistic features [not OpEd] with sentiments that are critical, for example, of Israel or White House policy, the Right will not check it out nor concede the point.

            [In the case of Israel, they will say that they are critical because NYT is Liberal
            --when, indeed, the paper's ownership has always been Jewish.]

            It is a little bit like the JFK Assassin Theorists who refuse to look at exculpatory evidence or incriminating evidence–because it would mean, symbolically, that it would render the Right’s decades’ long belief systems– ineffectual, if not dysfunctional.

            [By the way, in offering this analogy, I, personally, am neither condoning nor rejecting the myriad conspiracy theories, offered over the years.

    • J__o__h__n

      You left out Rev. Moon’s conservative paper.

      • notafeminista

        I did. I used the Weekly Standard instead…just to amuse myself. Thanks for noticing though :)

  • rc2132

    No surprise with this. Colleges and the people who run them have swung so far to the left that stories like this and the disinviting of any speaker that may utter one sentence that could be construed as being slightly to right of Mao are now commonplace.
    There is only one way to think and act on these campuses. Anything else is to be demonized and or banned. No need to have any intellectual discourse. No debate. No free exchange of ideas. Just tow the party line.

    • creaker

      Actually most churning to ban, censor limit classics come from the right.

      • rc2132

        Really? Go to the website for FIRE. Almost all acts of censorship, or acts to deny or stifle free speech on college campuses comes from the left. The university of Delaware actually for a time had reeducation classes for those they felt did not see the world through there leftist view.
        I work at a college. some of the stuff that go’s on is downright scary.
        Almost every speaker that was disinvited from speaking this year and over the last several has either been a conservative or just not liberal enough.

  • notafeminista

    Regarding the art installation of the poor fellow wandering about in his BVDs…has anyone seen anything (stories, quotes, commentary whatever) about someone being concerned for HIS welfare? Obviously observers initially mistook him for a real person (easily done by all accounts) – so far the stories I’ve found are how people were traumatized by his presence.
    This is a representation of a human wandering practically naked through the snow. Where is the commentary on how he might have ended up that way and what society can or should be doing to help?
    Instead, it appears to be “all about me” to coin a phrase.

  • Ray in VT

    Permission to “duck it”? Come on, just read the darned book if you want to (or have to) take the course.

  • Matt MC

    “They don’t gotta burn the books, they just remove ‘em.” — Rage Against the Machine

    • Coastghost

      I thought or have been led to think that idiot Millennials don’t read books, period. Do Millennials even know what libraries are? I wouldn’t know, to depend on what I’m told.

      • Charles

        Dude, I know you’re on a roll today, or something.
        But you don’t need to call an entire generation mean names.
        Unnecessary.

        • Coastghost

          Millennials have themselves to thank for accumulating their own record, unassisted and unprovoked.
          Today’s topic is NO demonstration of the application of critical intelligence whatsoever.

      • Kathy

        Gen-Y reads more than Boomers or Xers and reads more than either generation did at a similar age.

        Harry Potter? Twilight? The major media touchstones of this generation have been books.

      • malkneil

        I think without exception every generation always has at least some contempt for the generations that follow — with their rock and roll music, moving pictures and internet.

      • adks12020

        Umm, many millenials, like myself (born 2 days before 1982, generally used as the start date for the group) read plenty. I read every night before bed until I was 18, then I read even more in college, and now I read novels most nights along with news and reading for work. Nice gross generalization though. Most people didn’t even have the internet available to them until the early to mid 90s. In the rural area I grew up in many people couldn’t even get internet in their homes until just before I graduated high school (2000) so libraries were kind of essential for school work and any kind of pleasure reading. Nice hyperbole though.

      • caravan70

        The problem is that while milennials apparently like to read, they’re mainly reading crap. They don’t seem to graduate beyond young adult novels like the Harry Potter series and take on anything more challenging. As for “trigger warnings” – what a load of BS. College education is supposed to confront you with troubling issues. If it doesn’t do that – if it doesn’t make you question your core beliefs and values – it’s not doing its job.

  • Charles

    Can I just say, if that’s a STATUE in the picture, then it’s incredible.
    I’m not much of an art person, but damn. That’s amazingly lifelike.

    Kudos to the creator.

  • creaker

    Actually I think this is ok – but not at a book level. Include in the syllabus what materials and discussion may or may not be included. And then the student can decide whether to take the course or not – or make their college choices based on that criteria. But the choice should be made before the student sits in the classroom seat, not as every book, presentation and piece of paper is handed out.

  • http://www.google.com Big Brother

    The Southern Quarterly Review from the 30s is a rationalization of racism. if those books were eliminated, it would be a travesty.

  • Human2013

    I let my 10 year old son view pictures of people impacted by the fallout of nuclear weapons. I told him that humans have spent millennia perfecting our DNA (evolving) and one weapon destroys it. The pictures are horrifying, but he will never advocate for nuclear weapons….that’s the point!

    • notafeminista

      I don’t know about you, but I’ve not spent one single solitary minute perfecting any DNA.

      • Human2013

        Do you have ten fingers…no active participation needed!

  • hennorama

    Apologies for by bemusement about this topic, given that On Point has just this morning censored my post containing political pundit Richard Morris’ nickname, while allowing my substitute — “Cock” Morris — to pass its filter.

    • Steve__T

      “my”?

      • hennorama

        Steve__T — “my” apologies. Please see “my” edits. above.

  • creaker

    Education is not limiting yourself to your current world view.

  • Maggie

    In general, I support the right of consumers, broadly defined, to know what they’re buying into. If students wants to know what’s in their reading before they crack the book, how is that different from people wanting to know what’s in their food before they eat it? All the students are asking for is empathy. Warning labels seems like a fairly small thing to ask.

    • JS

      So, before I buy a book, I should already know what’s in the book?

      • Maggie

        So, every book you pick up, you do so without knowing what it’s about or what’s in it? You go in blind? You go to movies without knowing what the movie’s about?

        • JS

          I know basically what its about, not every scene that might “upset” me.

          If I sign up for Geology 101 and Modern Warfare 101, I have a pretty good idea of what each class is about. A detailed syllabus is important also, but not every thing that might be upsetting to any person needs to be addressed.

          Got PTSD, talk to the professor before taking the Warfare Class.

          Got a fear of Rocks, talk to the professor before taking Geology class.

  • Michiganjf

    Yes, let’s keep dumbing down the curriculum to suit the most narrow-minded among us… why broaden anyone’s perspective?

    Great works of literature cover difficult topics for a reason… to broaden understanding.

  • Community Mapper

    When any censorship occurs in any educational setting, it is no longer an educational institution, just a place.

  • Bigtruck

    America is dumbing down, I can only imagine that Mark Twain would find this topic amusing.

  • Jostrenz

    Why not put a warning sign at the front door of each college: “Do not enter, if you are threatened by thought! Thinking may be hazardous for your life!”

    What a ridiculous idea.

  • http://www.google.com Big Brother

    One of my most memorable moments in a class in high school was when my teacher asked, “What did Shakespeare write about?”

    No one spoke.

    Then, the teacher, with a glimmer in her eye, answered her own question, “Sex.”

    I became a big fan of literature after that.

    • JS

      Great point. My woman teacher, in an all boys Catholic school, delighted in telling us what the “beast with two backs” really meant.

  • Coastghost

    Justin Peligri, apologist for delicate presentations of challenging, difficult, or horrific material. (Granted, the material is already being mediated, but still . . .)
    Further attenuations of mediated experience: this is nothing but a retreat from critical thinking. The limits of ethical emotivism obviously have been transcended.

  • Kathy

    Leaving aside all of the generational critique, one of the problems I see with a policy like this is that the people who are most concerned about “trigger warnings” are the ones most likely to consider almost everything to be “triggering” on some level.

    In other words, I understand why a rape survivor might want a warning if a book has a sexual assault in it. However, I think the real hue and cry over this subject, particularly over issues of oppression (homophobia, racism, etc.) will come from the hypersensitive Tumblr Activist types who would probably be hard pressed to find anything that didn’t require every trigger warning.

  • Markus6

    If it were true that this was a real issue, we’ve been raising the most pathetic bunch of whiners in the history of humanity. However, I think it’s a half dozen dopes who were just itchin to be offended at something and get 3 minutes of fame.

    There’s really nothing here.

  • DougGiebel

    Why not let every student decide the subject matter for every course, so that if a student doesn’t want to read or see anything, no reading or watching will be required? OR should students be required to grow up and mature by experiencing learning in all its messiness? WARNING: LEARNING AIN’T A BED OF ROSE PETALS.

  • James

    It may not be censorship, but before you censor something you must first qualify what is deemed worthy of censorship.

  • Coastghost

    I was fourteen years old when I beheld a man who’d been struck by a train: I saw him bleed profusely for fifteen of the last twenty minutes of his life. A thoroughly unmediated experience, and transformative as a consequence.

    • J__o__h__n

      Is that why conservatives are against funding public transportation?

  • Carla

    This is not censorship. Its only a warning – if students want to read the book, they can. Students HAVE read these books for years, but you have no idea how many times these books/experiences have caused mental health issues in the past. Speaking as a mom of kids who have experienced suicide ideation as teens due to abuse, I am very supportive of trigger warnings that might just give my kids a heads up that they either need to prepare themselves to read something, or may elect to skip it and read something else. The reason its coming up now is that we as a society are have much more knowledge of mental health issues like PTSD and how they impact lives negatively, than we did in the past. I can only assume that those who protest this idea have no idea what having a mental illness is like or what its like to be an abuse or sexual violence survivor.

    • JS

      If the teacher assigns a book, and your kids decides to “skip it or read something else” that kid should get a zero. A person in college is an ADULT and they CHOOSE their classes. I came across no offense material in my Geology classes, and if I had mental issues with suicide, I wouldn’t take a class on Suicides throughout the Ages.

      • Carla

        Wow. Did you really mean to say that? That’s incredibly hurtful. Peace.

        • JS

          I’m sorry if the truth is hurtful to you. School is not a Suicide Counseling Session, nor should it be.

  • J__o__h__n

    I really doubt that any veterans are the ones whining that their books don’t have warnings. And the comment that you wouldn’t mention something potentially offensive at dinner is ridiculous. A social occasion is not the same as a learning experience.

  • adks12020

    These students are adults. Grow up. If you can’t read the material without getting offended then you should drop the course. There are always other course options. Part of higher education is being exposed to things you may not otherwise be exposed to and learning from that.

  • http://www.dadoffgrid.com/ Jim Smith

    It sounds like a movie rating system but the PG-13 rating killed serious adult movies. Studios now forbid their directors to go for an R rating which waters down otherwise poignant films. This same thing will happen for novels over time.

    • TFRX

      I thought NC-17 killed serious adult movies also. If someone wanted to make Last Tango in Paris and cut it for an NC-17, it would not be allowed in megaplexes, its ads couldn’t be in much of the big media. (And I’m not buying that the internet and YouTube trailers are ready to make a $100M movie feasible there.)

      Totally ripping this idea off from the late, great Roger

      Ebert, a man who, BTW, cared little for a movie’s moral sensibilities as long as passed muster with his comedic, romantic, action or other genre sensibilities.

      • http://www.dadoffgrid.com/ Jim Smith

        I agree. Life of Pi is a good example. The book had some intense violence and the movie, which sold itself as a Disney-esque trip across the ocean, glossed it over in voice-over. We saw it in the theater and parents with their kids were very disappointed.

        • J__o__h__n

          It was rated PG. Looks like the labeling didn’t work.

  • JP_Finn

    This is so crazy–why are we so fixated on protecting ourselves or others from the reality of the world around us? The world is full of a wide range of viewpoints, opinions, and imagery. Some of these are hateful, ignorant, graphic, sacrilegious, etc., etc., yet we should not seek to be shielded from things we find distasteful or upsetting. These are real actions, ideas, and relationships that exist in the world, and if you are a seeker of knowledge and the truth, you should be able to encounter these things, take them into consideration, and form educated opinions on them, regardless of whether you ultimately agree with them or feel comfortable with them.
    I’m also having a hard time imagining the situation where literature or educational texts in books are being “sprung” on poor, unsuspecting students. The contents and “bullet points” of different works and academic subjects are pretty well transmitted from person to person without explicit warnings; so that it would seem pretty rare that you would not have some inkling of what you are going to learn about or read when you start a new class or course. I never read Nabokov’s Lolita, but somehow I still know it has something to do with an older man’s illicit relationship with a young girl. Even though I find such a relationship repulsive in the real world, I still will likely read this work at some point in the future in order to broaden my horizons. I doubt that the message of that book is that this kind of behavior is morally acceptable (although I’ve never read it, so I have yet to find out).
    We shouldn’t make our way through life with some kind of force field of avoidance moving before us, preemptively blocking us from anything we might find distasteful or upsetting. Let’s be grownups, people.

  • skelly74

    I think some of these “children” were victims of their parents failure to put the towel on the bedroom doorknob…”no Tucker, we were only wrestling”.

  • M S

    Just because an idea goes viral it doesn’t make it sane.

  • Leonard Bast

    I wish there had been a trigger warning before Rachel Tiffe spoke. I’m sensitive to incredibly stupid and shallow arguments. they trigger incredulity and disgust.

  • NYC Documentarian

    Young people are so coddled, they can’t function in the real world, generally speaking. There are no warnings in the work place, on the subway, at a tavern, etc. The world is a challenging place. If you can’t confront these things at the college level, I feel sorry for our culture.

  • http://www.google.com Big Brother

    thankfully no Professor could teach Ayn Rand without getting fired.

    • Ray in VT

      Would that be Literary Dreck 101 or Terrible Philosophy 102?

  • J__o__h__n

    Can we use a term other than “trigger?” Trigger has connotations of gun violence and equestrian servitude.

    • Markus6

      Best chuckle I’ve had today.

      The kids (student and professor) should have warned us before using the term. I’m offended.

  • http://www.dadoffgrid.com/ Jim Smith

    Wouldn’t people who have experienced something traumatic learn something from a literary novel that attempts to understand such things? I have learned that I am not alone in the world in many respects from good, serious novels.

  • Jason Vicente

    Most great literature raises uncomfortable issues. The Illiad, Shakespeare (Titus, MacBeth), and the Bible contain sections with extreme violence including murder, rape, war, etc. Are we to be relegated to studying Barney (that insipid Purple Dinosaur)? Can we expect our students incapable of handling anything more challenging than an episode of Blues Clues? Should colleges stop teaching about the Civil War because of racism or WWI because of anti-semitism? What topic worth studying doesn’t challenge us and our sensativities?

    • jefe68

      Um, that was WW2.

  • Susan

    Shouldn’t they have already read these books in high school? Reading how
    much things have changed in the last hundred years is a good thing!
    Free the bubble wrap generation, so they can experience real life . . .

  • Rick Evans

    Oh, please. Lots of images and ideas offend people. The ones being trotted out supposed to sound obvious. ‘Of course we’re supposed to be offended by sexual violence’.

    However plenty of people offended by Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend but are labeled anti-gay or needing to get over it. Would that image be subject to a warning. How far are we supposed to slide down this slippery slope of hypocrisy?

    This is college. Grow up.

    • brettearle

      Well-said.

  • Mine

    Is there a college that teaches in the old conventional ways no matter what? I face this issue on middle school level every day. Parents of a criteria based magnet public school would like to come and argue about what is appropriate for their kids but benefit from all the other perks of public education in stead of home schooling. World has done OK so far with the old methods.

  • George Spelvin

    Trigger warnings on higher education courses? The very topic makes me uncomfortable.

    How in the name of common sense can you warn against shocking ideas when the entire point of education is to challenge, expose and engage students? If this trinity of intellectual growth is fearsome to students…perhaps they should simply take a course in how to say “Would you like fries with that”.

    Georgi in NY

    • brettearle

      And will it be supersized?

  • Maggie

    Curl up in pain and sob? Really? Wow. We’re one of the most violent cultures in the world, and a gender studies professor is pushing back against a rally for empathy? Yikes.

  • George Spelvin

    When presented with a difficult point of view we used to enter into a debate. Now we hire lawyers to protect our myopia.

    • brettearle

      And then we try to get the judge, or the jury, to undergo a thorough ophthalmological examination–if the verdict goes against our, quote, `sensibilities’, unquote.

  • Michiganjf

    I was stuck behind someone in the grocery line last week who wanted the laser scanners covered on the register because she was afraid of their effect on her health… must we accommodate every paranoia and unreasonable concern?

    • TyroneJ

      I hope the store told her to shop elsewhere.

    • notafeminista

      Aaahhh… perspective is a funny thing – awfully callous aren’t you? Good health is a basic human right – and you would deny her that?

  • J__o__h__n

    Any professors of real subjects?

  • seasidegirl2012

    I hope my professor dad is not listening from heaven to this crazy talk. There is no way to “warn” students of content that might be challenging or sensitive. Who will be the sensitive police? And what meets the definition? Sex, drugs, rock’n’roll, religious teachings? The whole point of college is to expand one’s mind; explore new and sometimes uncomfortable ideas; to see things from other’s points of view. Maybe some of these advocates of trigger warnings would be better off NOT going to college, taking much needed scholarship money away from other students, and taking space in classrooms.

  • Niles Brown

    After graduation students are going to encounter racism, sexism, violence etc. and it doesn’t come with a warning label in the real world. Coddling students like they are preschoolers makes them less prepared to deal with these subjects.

    • OnPointComments

      We are becoming a nation of whiners and victims who think they have the right to pass through life being coddled and unoffended.

  • Coastghost

    Why does Peligri valorize “emotional response” to academic course content? He invokes, but without criteria.

  • Maggie

    Why are we talking in terms of “generations”? No, this generation isn’t more fragile – it’s more aware and open. We don’t know how people suffered in the past because it was taboo to talk about it. Thank goodness THIS generation feels like it can speak up!

    • Rick Evans

      “We don’t know how people suffered in the past because it was taboo to talk about it.”

      Huh? How would mass movements women’s suffrage, race civil rights, homosexual rights get started if no one talked about “it”?

      • Maggie

        I’m not talking about suffering from unequal rights – I’m talking about suffering of people who have severe psychological reactions to certain stimuli while the rest of us scoff and say “stop being a wuss!” I’m not convinced this generation is “wussier” than other generations in this regard – I think people of this generation we’re talking about are more willing to listen to each other and have empathy for people who are suffering in ways that are largely hidden.

        • Rick Evans

          “I think people of this generation we’re talking about are more willing to listen to each other and have empathy for people who are suffering in ways that are largely hidden.”

          Certainly explains all the online bullying or pulling out their smartphones to film someone getting a beat down instead of calling 911.

          • Maggie

            In case you haven’t noticed, they’re speaking out about that, too. Bullying – another topic to which the overwhelming response used to be “stop being a wussy.”

  • originalname37

    I know how vulnerable a nontenured professor is (I recently failed to get tenure myself). But I don’t know what this has to do with trigger warnings. Trigger warnings or not, the student evaluations are what they are. In fact, it seems like trigger warnings might *help* the professor to avoid some bad evaluations.

    • Oginikwe

      Worrying about “bad” evaluations will paralyze you and prevent you from teaching your subjects adequately because there’s always someone who doesn’t like you. A smart department head knows this.

  • JS

    Thank God my degrees are in Geology and Environmental Science, and I didn’t have to put up with too much of this foolishness.

    • TFRX

      Yeah, but don’t think your (proverbial) kids in a state full of Christianists won’t have that luck. Nothing bleats louder than the anti-sciencers in red / Tea Party states.

  • Leonard Bast

    Justin Peligri’s assertion that his generation is more willing to discuss controversial issues is laughable. His generation is the least willing to engage in serious debate and discussion than any I have ever taught. They are terrified of being controversial or offensive. If this is indicative of his ability to understand the world he lives in or the one that came before him, then I think we can discount his shallow interpretation of reality.

  • seasidegirl2012

    I am listening to your speaker talking about students feeling uncomfortable in class – get over it! You chose college and this class. Get over it or go elsewhere.

  • Chuck P

    We should issue everyone in the US a sign to put on their door so they see it when they leave their home. CAUTION: YOU ARE ENTERING THE REAL WORLD YOU MAY NO LIKE EVERYTHING

  • adks12020

    One important thing I think needs to be discussed is the fact that there are HUGE differences between so called “millennials” born in the early 80s and those born closer to 2000. Our upbringings were completely different. I read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in 5th grade. There were certainly adult themes and there was adult language in those books but they didn’t scar me for life. Far from it, I learned a lot about the history of our country when my teacher explained the themes and language in the books. By the time the mid-late 90s came around those books weren’t allowed to be read in most elementary schools. Heck, some high schools banned them. Ridiculous.

  • hennorama

    Perhaps the solution is to create (If they don’t already exist) some “rainbows and ponies” colleges for the ultra-sensitive, who could then be exposed only to gray, bland, colorless topics and ideas.

    Of course, then they wouldn’t be exposed to any rainbows, or most ponies.

    Oh well …

  • Maggie

    I’m sorry that the professor “doesn’t understand.” Apparently, she wants us to coddle her and let her lack of understanding carry the day?

  • TyroneJ

    I would hope the content of the courses challenges the students in every way possible. And that includes challenging their delicate “sensibilities”.

  • Sbrin

    This confuses me because this generation is has grown up with the most violent tv and film in all time. I have had to walk out of movies. And from my reading of Game of Thrones, it is clearly not for me. I would think they are numb by now.

  • Coastghost

    What makes Peligri and trigger warning advocates THINK that sensitization of affective response to course content merits the valorization being accorded? Do they possess the actual intellectual resources necessary to discern the dimensionalities of affective response? How can their proposal NOT be construed as putting up blinders to experience?

  • camillacaros

    For the professors who are opposed to trigger warnings — why would you fight a measure that could potentially improve class participation from your students? If you give a warning, preparations can be made, and students can do what they each need to in order to best engage with the material. Also, if you have never been a subject of sexual violence, you do not understand the effect an unexpected viewing of a rape scene can have on your ability to communicate and function normally, especially in a class setting.

    • JS

      It is hard for me to imagine that many classes would have material involving rape scenes. I know that few if any of my Geology classes had them, but I wasn’t always paying attention. What classes or degree would these classes appear, and if you take such a class/degree, wouldn’t you expect something like that to show up?

      If they have had past experiences that might “trigger” them, they should talk to the professor beforehand.

      • J__o__h__n

        We should ban geology. People in the past would stone people and that could trigger unpleasant past life experience memories.

        • camillacaros

          Haha :) ok ok come on. All I’m saying is that the requests of the students could be quite easily satisfied. Why make such a big deal of it?

          • JS

            I think it’s the students making a big deal out if it. Tell the student to grow the F up and take responsibility for their own life. If they have a problem, it’s THEIR problem, and they should deal with it on their own, not force everyone else to deal with THEIR problem.

          • camillacaros

            I don’t think EVERYONE else is subject to their issues, though! Just the professors, who will need to spend 30 minutes adding a few notes to their syllabi. It’s part of the job of educators to create a space where people can engage in productive conversation. If students are voicing their opinion about how to make a space more conducive to productive conversation about difficult subjects, why not listen?

          • JS

            30 minutes trying to decide which innocuous line from the many readings might somehow, in some way, offend some person? That is time wasted.

            Students can voice all the concern they want, but nothing about trigger warning makes a space more conductive to productive conversation.

        • JS

          Actually in a entry level Geology class the professor went pretty hard against Creationism, ripping it apart actually, saying that the people who support Creationism insult him and his life’s work. I’m sure that offended some. So maybe it will lead to Warning for Geology classes.

          • notafeminista

            Maybe just “warning: falling rocks” sign

          • JS

            Be Gneiss

          • notafeminista

            But of quartz!

          • JS

            Don’t take it for granite

          • notafeminista

            I’m just a sedimentary gal

      • camillacaros

        Well, geology departments aren’t likely to be subject to this type of censoring. It seems, to me, to be something that would be useful in religion, sociology, psychology, IR, and other liberal arts subjects. It doesn’t have to be such a big deal. A short sentence in the syllabus at the beginning of the term, pointing out that there is sensitive material in one reading or another is not too much to ask.

        • JS

          Sorry, but I call BS on that. Read the syllabus and decide for yourself if you think something in the course will offend you. College students are ADULTS and should be treated as such.

    • notafeminista

      Malarkey.

      • camillacaros

        please expand

        • notafeminista

          One doesn’t need to be the subject of nor experience an unpleasant violent act to know it is both. On the other hand, trigger warnings n so on, do seem to be a significant attempt to control the narrative.

          • camillacaros

            Interesting — so, maybe a fear that content will be tailored too much and we will lose important substance? I can understand that argument. And I wouldn’t ever want to see content being censored. It is more that a warning system could be easily implemented in the class room that would allow students to prepare, even if it is just with a deep breath, to deal with what they might see/hear in that day or over the course of that semester.

          • JS

            Wouldn’t it be easier for the extremely small minority of students likely to need a trigger warning to take responsibility for their own emotional health by talking to the professor before hand?

          • camillacaros

            Yes, I agree! And I do not know in which places these people are the majority or minority. However, if the movement grows/is already large, and the current minority becomes the majority, I don’t think it should be ignored or seen as a ridiculous request.

          • JS

            Just because it grows does NOT mean it is not a ridiculous request.

            If i take Geology, I dont expect to see graphic images of slavery.

            If i take “Blacks in Film” I fully expect top see graphic depictions of slavery, and “The Color Purple” includes a violent rape scene. It was disturbing, and it was IMPORTANT to be disturbed as that was the authors INTENT.

          • camillacaros

            Yes, authors intent indeed. A great and important tactic used across all types of literature, film, and other media. I think the shock value can remain while also giving students fair warning of what is coming up. I’ve got to sign off for now, but nice chatting! I hear you loud and clear, and agree on some points. I’m just trying to see the student side of things as well. Take care!

          • notafeminista

            The students are adults. At what point do you expect them to behave like adults? There is no telling what they will encounter during any given day outside the classroom. (Frankly if the US Dept of Ed is to be believed, college students are doing far worse to each other outside the classroom than anything they are reading IN the classroom.)

          • camillacaros

            I agree. They are adults. And I think it’s a pretty adult thing to say, hey, we’re having trouble engaging with this material when we’re not aware of what is coming. College is meant to be a safe learning space, where you CAN prepare for tough conversations, so that when you get into the real world you’ve had the experience of being able to think through how to respond, and will be able to do so more quickly and without the warning.

          • JS

            Again, I have to call BS in that. What you described is High School thinking. Adults should be past that when entering college.

          • camillacaros

            Welp, agree to disagree!

          • JS

            I don’t agree to disagreeing sorry.

          • MisanthropicMF

            Adults should be past that. The trouble is there are fewer and fewer people that get beyond “High School” thinking. Which leads to a very fast growing segment of the population that are “adult” teenagers.

          • notafeminista

            Well if college is meant to be “a safe learning space”, someone better tell the student population that. Assaults of every variety, hazing, drunken binges – good lord. They encounter worse walking across the quad than whatever they’re getting in Intro to Lit 101.

          • camillacaros

            Also, you DO need to be a direct victim to fully understand. You can get close to thinking you have a full understanding, but until you have experienced first hand don’t say that you know what it’s like.

          • notafeminista

            Which doesn’t negate the attempt to control the narrative.

    • MountainView

      Because this is college. Students receive a syllabus, with course books and readings listed. They can look up the background information on their own. Because–again–this is college, not high school. And college professors are not nannies.

    • jefe68

      So I guess a class on the films of Stanley Kubrick would have to have a warning. Which is absurd.
      Students can obtain the syllabus and talk to the professor before enrolling. It’s called taking some personal responsibility for your education.

  • notafeminista

    Hum. Just as a thought experiment….(disclaimer: I anecdotally know of no such course that exists)
    “Koch Brothers – a study in American success and excess” – cross-disciplined econ and history. The implications and impact of hard work, big money and philanthropy on the American landscape. It is true at some point you’ve earned enough money and what affect that will have on organizations dependent on donations. A deeper look into personal choice and income.”

    • OnPointComments

      Second semester: How to acquire Privilege. Synopsis: Study hard. Make good grades. Stay in school. Graduate from college. Get a job. Don’t get married until you finish school and have a job. Don’t have children until you’re married.

      • TFRX

        Be white.

        “I mean, what luck you’re white. You have no idea how big that is here.”

        (h/t Stewie Griffin)

        • notafeminista

          When was Dr Carson white?

        • OnPointComments

          If a professor began a statement with “All black people always…,” the professor would be fired. Yet “All white people always…” is embraced.

          REX MURPHY: CHECK YOUR BIGOTRY
          http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/05/17/rex-murphy-check-your-bigotry/

          Excerpt:
          They seem especially convinced that every white person is a bundle of unearned advantages, owns a place purely because of his/her skin colour, and wanders through life with a Free For Me Pass simply because daddy and mommy, and their daddy and mommy, were white.

          It’s astonishing. Could there be a better definition of racism, a better example of a purely racist concept, than this, the holding that all a person does and is springs from the colour of his skin?

          The entire notion is called “white privilege.”

          It is a direct effort to impose guilt where gratification should reign. It is to make those who work hard, try to conduct themselves responsibly, who apply themselves to study, feel that none of these attributes, none of their honest effort, has earned them success.

        • hennorama

          TFRX — any and all Family Guy references get a [Vote up].

  • OnPointComments

    I doubt that it is the students at Bob Jones University who are complaining about course content.

  • Dave Bevis

    Where does this stop? Life does not come with warning labels. Once this starts every school that acquiesces to these demands will find themselves constantly battling demands and legal battles over the content of courses that someone is offended or “traumatized” by.

  • brettearle

    Can we please talk more about how, and why, the politically correct movement has gone out of control?

    Is it simply to protect our children?

    I don’t think so.

    • notafeminista

      I don’t either.

      • brettearle

        This is a topic that brings together polarities, isn’t it?

        This phenomenon IS disturbing.

        • notafeminista

          ‘Tis. While it seems unfortunate it had to come this, maybe it’s time to celebrate the similarities for awhile.

    • TFRX

      Politically correct?

      That phrase used to mean something once, maybe during Bush I’s term. But now it’s so overused against anything that maybe it should be retired.

      • brettearle

        Excellent point.

        And your point has significant implications.

        The term, `politically correct’, is becoming too politically correct.

        And it might even be becoming, at times, too, `politically incorrect’!

  • Oginikwe

    I’ve had students refuse to read Jonathon Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” because they found it offensive even though it is satire. The real offense is that it makes them think in a different way and brings a new awareness.

    • J__o__h__n

      Was it because children aren’t vegan?

      • Oginikwe

        LOL!!

  • Coastghost

    Justin Peligri obviously was not dropped on the floor quite often enough as a child.

  • JP_Finn

    Also, well done Tom & Co. at OnPoint for picking a heated topic–almost 200 comments and the hour isn’t even done yet!

  • skelly74

    Welcome to the world of the future (in America)- hyper regulations in all aspects of life. Get out your rule book. The lawyers are sharpening their filet knives…

  • Coastghost

    “Traumatization by post-secondary education”! THIS is the exact idiocy being discussed here. What else might we call it: how about “nerf academics”?

  • cdalpra

    As someone who has recently completed a MS degree this discussion is ridiculous. The world is not kind and nice to everyone. This is rich privilege at its worst. If these students would travel internationally outside of Americanized resorts this would be blatantly in their face. I’ve been luck to experience poverty and rough area internationally. This is not to “save” people mental stress, but is to prevent them from having a realistic view on the world around us. Isn’t a university education meant to educate people on the realities of the world? I completed my grad. degree in Utah where it is common that students become upset if a professor talks about coffee, alcohol, and/or sex in general if it is not associated with the LDS church. Do you want our higher ed. system to bend to individuals personal opinions?

  • brettearle

    Sticks and stones will….

  • J__o__h__n

    The cost of higher education needs a warning. My student loans are continuing to torment me.

  • Dave Bevis

    Not one of these people is going to be able to avoid these “triggers” throughout their life. For them to expect others to edit/censor their message to accommodate them is absurd.

  • Catherine

    Wouldn’t this result in writers and publishers engaging in some form of “self censorship?”

    • brettearle

      Absolutely and Good Point.

  • AliceOtter33

    Trigger warnings need not become a minefield for the educators or for the students, rather they should be used as tools of communication and as work in progress.

    Educators need to feel free to pursue their expertise in a field without being censored or sanitized preemptively. Students need to feel free to walk into a class knowing they’ve had a heads up.

    It seems entirely practical and reasonable that graphic visual media should be thoughtfully presented with trigger warnings. You can’t “unsee” an image. It seems only fair to give students a heads up that something they are about to experience as part of their work in a course may be personally disturbing to the point of diminishing their ability to learn.

    The focus and energy of educators should be on student engagement in the material. Respect, courtesy, sensitivity does not have to mean censorship of the material itself.

    With clear definitions and common sense forewarning, trigger warnings should work toward a more inclusive experience for everyone.

    • brettearle

      Please……

      Whom are you trying to protect?

      Please….

      • AliceOtter33

        Protection is an interesting way to look at it. This is not an offense/defense issue. Both the professors and the students lose out if it becomes about censorship.

        • brettearle

          You dodged the point.

          If it’s not about protection, then WHAT is it about?

          You answered my question as if we were supposed to know the real answer, instinctively–without you, spilling it, or spelling it out.

          I mean, really, we can’t all be truth seekers where the Truth ought to be intuitively obvious.

          Please….enlighten us.

          You haven’t yet….

    • JS

      What classes are showing these graphic images? Physics? Geology? Chemistry?

      I took “Blacks in Films” in college and I wasn’t surprised by the discussion on racism & slavery presented.

      • AliceOtter33

        This isn’t about silencing discussion of ideas. It’s about professors and students communicating about the presence of graphic or potentially disturbing content on a syllabus ahead of time in order to improve discussion. What’s the big deal?

        The guest professor’s primary example of what she viewed as censorship was about her showing graphic images of anorexics onscreen during a lecture and then becoming paranoid and defensive when students approached her about providing trigger warnings next time around.

        Censorship is not the issue here – ethics and egos are.

        • JS

          But it can be de facto censorship. Take your example: If she then includes a warning about the graphic images, and students don’t take the class, she could lose her job.

          But the most important point is that WHO would possible be bothered enough by images of anorexics that they would require a trigger warning? That proves that anything and everything would be subject to such warnings.

          • J__o__h__n

            And it could cut into the class content as a professor might not want to risk teaching something that alarmists might be offended by.

          • AliceOtter33

            Perhaps, so the onus should be on the student to approach a prof beforehand – but the professor should be able to accept and engage with a critique of why she includes certain material in a syllabus. That’s part of the process for the student, too.

          • MountainView

            There is a syllabus. The books, films, etc., are listed on the syllabus. If the prospective student doesn’t care for the material, that student can drop the class. Period. No professor should have to engage in a defense of their curriculum “beforehand.” That’s ridiculous. If students want to be treated like adults, they need to act like adults, instead of pampered little babies.

          • AliceOtter33

            Having slept on it, I find myself agreeing with your take this morning.

            I’m trying to figure out why I was “triggered” by the discussion yesterday enough to defend the use of trigger-warnings.

            At the end of the day, it should never be the school’s policy that a professor issue trigger-warnings or be asked to defend their syllabus before the judgement of their students.

            Schools already capitulate too readily to students as “customers” above all else as professors are held accountable for their course evaluations.

            There’s something much bigger going on when a professor is personally shaken and put on the defensive by her students.

        • brettearle

          How does, what you are alluding to above, `Improve’ discussion?

          HOW?

          • AliceOtter33

            No surprises – nobody gets shut down or shut out if everybody knows what’s coming as far as the content. This only frees up discussion in the classroom.

        • David F

          It is not the job of professors to dance on egg shells around their student’s anxieties.

          • AliceOtter33

            You’re right.

        • Dave Bevis

          Alice, the problem isn’t ethics and egos it is about who defines what gets triggered? There are always going to be offensive, difficult and graphic details in courses that deal with life. If someone cannot deal with that then this isn’t the environment they should be in.

          You may be reasonable about where a trigger is necessary but what about others? Once the policy is in place it becomes a black hole of complaints, demands and lawsuits. Any material that smacks of potential controversy will either be labeled with every warning imaginable or omitted just to avoid potential problems. And God forbid a discussion wanders off into unintended directions.

  • Scott B

    The world isn’t safe. What are these kids going to do when they get out in the real world and reality smacks them in the head? They’re going to do what? Start “ChangeIt” petition over everything they find disagreeable? It’s like walking into bar and being offended that they serve booze and drunk people might bump into them. What next? Make Holocaust descriptions sound like Dr. Suess?

  • OnPointComments

    I hope I never inadvertently hire any of these whiners who want a trigger warning on life.

  • Coastghost

    Caricatures of affective academic fragility have been with us for centuries already: and these Millennials act as if THEY’RE discovering it all afresh!

  • J__o__h__n

    I don’t approve of the graduation speakers being censored but that doesn’t mean I want to hear these boring speeches to fill time at the end of On Point again this spring. Bring on the platitudes!

  • Markus6

    Kids brains are developing at this age. Specifically new pathways are created and gradually made more efficient. These new ones are created by the stress of being forced to think in ways that are uncomfortable – essentially thinking out of existing pathways. One theory, I happen to believe in is that old people fall into patterns and their brains diminish.

    In any event, students need to be uncomfortable and should not be given the option to get out of lectures that make them uncomfortable (with some exceptions, of course).

    One scary thought is how monolithic academics are in their thinking and how this is reinforcing existing paths, rather than helping kids forge new ones.

    As for trigger warnings, I think they’re different. I may be naive, but I think they’re too silly for anyone but some kids to take seriously.

  • creaker

    Put warnings in the syllabus and course descriptions – and let students choose then. This is more like going to the movies and having your own usher to cover your eyes and ears anytime something possibly offensive comes up.

  • notafeminista

    Hum….what if students asked for a trigger warning on Susie Bright? or Dan Savage? Noam Chomsky? George Lakoff? Andrea Dworkin?

  • carlina osprey

    I’m a psychologist who treats trauma-related disorders. Trigger is not a good word for this because it implies an inevitable response. That trauma response can and should be changed through treatment. Traumatized studentsdo not need a world that protects them from ” triggers” any more than a diabetic needs a world that protects them from cheese danishes. Let’s stop fragilze-ing trauma survivors and encourage treatment for it!

  • MisanthropicMF

    Well if Overland is going to implement their trigger warnings any copies of the Bible, Quran, and all of the other classic mythology will be sealed shut from the sheer number of warning labels.

    • brettearle

      Be patient.

      “On Point” will have them, someday, soon.

      Warning:

      “Self-righteousness is epidemic on the Thread and is Highly, Highly contagious….”

  • Nicabod

    This reminds me of the recall of packages of peanuts, plainly marked “Peanuts”, which were recalled because their statement of contents was not followed by the warning “Contains peanuts”.This isn’t exactly applicable, but the loony thinking that caused the recall includes poviding trigger warnings, in my opinion.

    If this is being hyper-cautious, another commonplace practice, de facto debtors’ prisons, is notably heartless, at least.

    A wacky lack of a sense of proportion is hardly a rarity in our society.

    Perhaps our epidemc of retardeid emotional development is a relevant cause of such things.

    We’re dismantling our civilization piecemeal, and this is a piece.

    Nevertheless, we who have not been to Hell and back as have some veterans should be concerned about their lot.

  • hennorama

    Perhaps these so-called “trigger” warnings might be better termed “stimulative” and/or “provocative,” e.g. “Stimulative and Provocative Content Included.”

    That removes, as [J__o__h__n ] wrote, the “connotations of gun violence and equestrian servitude,” and might actually encourage students to take these courses.

  • gemli

    I’m surprised that people are being as polite as they are about this argument. This is the thin end of the wedge, and it’s not about safety. It’s about control. When Mr. Peligri approached a teacher about including trigger warnings, he was attempting to control the discourse. I don’t think young brains that are not fully cooked should be affecting in any way how we educate the next generation about the difficult and sometimes painful realities of the real world. To do this in a college setting is particularly egregious. What happens when evolution offends students, or talk turns to abortion, or religions are discussed critically?

    Such policies will have a far more insidious effect on education. Once trigger word warnings are part of campus policy, the door is opened for students to file formal complaints. To say that this will not affect what teachers feel they can say, or which subjects they can talk freely about, is disingenuous at best.

    • AliceOtter33

      I agree that trigger “word warnings” as campus policy would become a slippery slope. But it’s a big leap to say that adopting the practice means censorship of discourse itself.

      It’s pretty disingenuous not to recognize that some professors have big egos and cannot bear the thought of being criticized by half-baked children.

      Why not engage in these students’ fledgling activism in a more mature way? It’s not capitulation to a bunch of entitled millennials to take a moment to give a heads up. Jeez.

      • JS

        They are the professors. Don’t like it, try a different class or school. Or be an ADULT and put up with it, deal with it, and move on abetter person.

        A heads up that they might be offended? Where would you even start? In the extremely few cases of a valid emotional response to something dramatic, that very small minority of students should discuss it with their professor before taking the class, like an ADULT would.

  • G.Z.

    I get the impression that students aren’t asking for broad scale limitations of speech, but instead more sensitivity and respect around a very specific set of mental health issues that have the potential to be triggered by very specific course materials.

    • Coastghost

      Makes you wonder just how humanity survived for two million years without PTSD diagnoses and therapies. (Mediated experience, after all, is or can be so much more traumatic than unmediated experience.)

      • Ray in VT

        Alcohol and dying young worked for many.

        • JS

          Or screaming in their sleep every night, like my Uncle, a WWII Veteran.

          • Ray in VT

            Or violent outbursts and irrational behavior, like my friend’s dad, who fought in Vietnam during the really bad years.

          • David F

            There were good years to be fighting in Vietnam?

          • Ray in VT

            Not really, but there were years when the conflict wasn’t so “hot”.

          • brettearle

            Ray–

            The specter of the Viet Nam war–and how it has changed our cultural, political, and global thinking since then–is likely of interest to you, as it is to me.

            I have not read a book by Marvin Kalb on this matter. But it has been recommended to me.

          • aaron

            It should be changed from the Vietnam war to the Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia War….

            http://legaciesofwar.org/about-laos/secret-war-laos/

            http://rabble.ca/toolkit/on-this-day/us-secret-bombing-cambodia

          • brettearle

            You might want to take that up with Kalb.

            Your point is a good one.

            Nevertheless, I think that public opinion only goes so far, in terms of how much malfeasance it can endure about one’s own country.

          • Ray in VT

            Thanks, brettearle. It is a very interesting topic, and I think that it is part contributed to the loss of faith in government action and showed the limits of American power. I think that I have seen Kalb’s book The Road to War discussed. Maybe that one, and Haunting Legacy, are ones to put on the to read list. Maybe some day I’ll actually be able to take the time to take more books off of that list than I put on.

      • hennorama

        Coastghost — perhaps it was due to the lag time between the experiences of combat, and the return home, during which warriors would have time to decompress, and to commiserate.

        There’s precious little of that of late; multiple deployments have also been more common, without much dwell time in between.

      • jefe68

        You’re kidding? They did not. In WW 1 it was called shell shock. In WW 2 it was called “combat exhaustion,” or “battle fatigue”.

        My late great uncle suffered from this late in life, the last 5 years or so. He was at the Battle of the Bulge and won a Bronze Star. What he went through no one my family ever knew, as he never told anyone about his war experiences.

        From reading about the battle, I doubt most men, and you in particular, would last more than few hours in those conditions.

        • kaaramel

          Thanks jefe68, they did not! I remember growing up hearing that suicide is the unpardonable sin. But at the same time I was learning about the transatlantic slave trade/middle passage, and all the enslaved people who jumped ship, killing themselves and their children as well as some who were chained to them —who perhaps did not want to die! Was I to think of these people as sinners without grace? Was I to think that they did something wrong and they should have wanted to live no matter what? Mankind has not survived well in harsh conditions. Many of those enslaved people who did not take their own life did not live long anyway, dying young in the ‘prime’ of their lives, younger than 40′s and so on. No wonder much of their culture was lost. I often remind myself that I was born in the best of times, the present time!

          • jefe68

            What does this have to do with WW1 and WW 2 and PTSD?

    • JS

      If I take a class on “Modern Warfare” I should fully expect to see violent images/content. What classes exactly would need these warnings?

      • jefe68

        What about a film class on Stanley Kubrick?

  • Sam Diener

    I commented on air regarding how warning students about the emotional content of this speech improved our discussions of it. It’s Andrea Dworkin’s I Want a 24 Hour Truce in Which There is No Rape. Available online at http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/WarZoneChaptIIIE.html.

  • Sam Diener

    The tag line under the title of this web page is incorrect and misleading: no college I know of is “demanding” this of professors. On air several of the guests said the opposite – though students at UCSB and Oberlin are pushing for policies. I wonder if this shaped the tone of some of the comments below.

    • JS

      It’s a short step from “pushing for the policies” to “demanding” them. It’s been my experience that if the pushing doesn’t work, it moves to demanding, usually with the tag line,”They aren’t listening to our concerns” when in reality they have listened, they just didn’t agree.

      • notafeminista

        …and if the demanding doesn’t work, then they go to court.

    • nomeatbarefeet

      Unless I am wrong it says: “Some college students are demanding…” That the students are demanding it is different than the college demanding it. You are right that it if was read as the college doing the demanding then that would certainly shape the tone of the discussion.

      • Sam Diener

        OK. Unless my eyes are deceiving me, I think they changed it. I’m pretty sure they changed “colleges” to “college” and inserted the word “students.”

        • nomeatbarefeet

          Gotcha. I must have loaded up the page after they did that.

  • Isernia

    The only “target warnings” they should have in colleges and universities is one to alert the class that a shooter, a disgruntled student or psychopath is about to blow them all away.

    • notafeminista

      Pft. They’re far more likely to be assaulted by one of their classmates,sexually or otherwise.

  • Coastghost

    I dare repeat myself: at age fourteen I beheld a man who had been struck by a train (perhaps I was perversely fascinated), but the clear, implacable memory of this man bleeding from both ears and both nostrils and both sides of his mouth in the last minutes of his life would send today’s tender youth recoiling with claims of intellectual dyspepsia.
    I recommend yanking today’s sensitive undergraduates from the comfy safety of their cyber-cribs ASAP.

  • JS

    If a college adopts these “trigger warnings” how soon before a professor is brought before the Dean and told, “Gee Professor, a lot of your classes have these “trigger warnings”. That doesn’t look good to parents of potential students. How about toning it down a notch.”

  • R. Duran

    An example of this sensitivity silliness that reared its head on the Middlebury campus just recently.

    Fewer Calories Sign

  • JS

    Well said.

  • brettearle

    It’s not a Trigger warning.

    It’s a, `Too-fast-on-the-Trigger’ warning

  • Perfessr

    Adult life doesn’t come with trigger warnings, and college is the last jumping-off point before adult life for most 18-22 year old students, who are ostensibly adults already.

    While it may be sensitive for a teacher to prepare students ahead of their being exposed to troubling content, that’s not how things happen in the real world. All of us have issues: learning to deal with those issues, and learning how to deal with persons who may deliberately attempt to push our buttons on those issues or learning how to work through and discuss our issues–with restraint and civility and, as far as possible, without unnecessary anger or, worse, aggression or violence–is an important part of the “initiation” into adulthood that a college education is supposed to provide.

    Children are prone to react to unpleasant stimuli negatively or with real agitation. As we mature, however, we are encouraged to channel our responses into productive, civilized manifestations. College is one of the best places to do that–it is a “finishing” school, as it were. Continuing to coddle students at that point in their lives does them no service. Each one of us needs to be responsible for our own reactions to negative stimuli. College professors are not responsible for student reactions. Taking offense or responding with anger, aggression, or violence are choices we make.

    This doesn’t mean that, as adults, we shouldn’t push back when we are confronted by the horrors that life presents. Of course we should, but we need to learn how to do so in appropriate ways. That is one of the roles of higher education. Meeting with unpleasant stimuli and responding appropriately in measured ways is a primary function of the laboratory of the college classroom inhabited by adult learners.

    After all, what kind of an education would you be receiving if you automatically agreed with–felt warm and cozy about–everything to which you were being exposed?

  • David F

    So called “trigger warnings” are incredibly silly and childish. Anyone asking for them shows that they haven’t developed the skills necessary to live in society. What is traumatic to one person is not to another, it’s completely unreasonable to expect such a warning.

    You can’t go through life protected and insulated from anything and everything that might offend you or shock you or bring back bad memories. Asking others to put “trigger warnings” on anything that might be offensive to another is self centered, arrogant and immature.

    Your mental well being is solely your responsibility, not mine or anyone else.

    • brettearle

      If we don’t draw a permanent line soon, on this madness, we’ll be forcibly stuck in our bedrooms, with Gideon’s Bible.

      • notafeminista

        “Now Rocky Racoon, he fell back in his room,
        Only to find Gideon’s Bible
        Gideon checked out, and he left it,no doubt
        to help with good Rocky’s revival.”

        • brettearle

          “Hit Young Rocky in the Eye…yyiii
          Rocky, didn’t like that,
          He said, “I’m gonna get that Boy.”

          Booked himself a room, in the local saloon….

          • notafeminista

            ;-)

  • Duras

    If you are not willing to put yourself into the fray, than join a church that adheres to your beliefs. But don’t be a book-burner and try to destroy the free exchange of ideas. Deal with it. And, by the way, being offended is a gift–it opens space for self-cultivation.

    • http://snowpyramid.tumblr.com/ SnowPyramid

      This is a very nuanced opinion for a dastardly female klingon

    • brettearle

      Well-said.

  • Adrian_from_RI

    Should I be encouraged to see that our colleges are desperately trying to remain relevant? However, it seems to me that this relevance has transformed our colleges into a quarter of a million dollar extension of our kindergartens and only intellectually challenged people can be happy about this progress.

    As for me, permit me to be scared by the sight of college presidents willingly submitting and preemptively surrendering their institutions of higher learning to the lunatics.

    • brettearle

      As well as surrendering their institutions of higher learning to the profiteers–in the name of the excessively high costs of tuition.

  • http://snowpyramid.tumblr.com/ SnowPyramid

    Not giving speech to the horrors in our lives only makes those events that much more horrifying. A supportive environment will encourage situations where many varieties of human pain can be discussed and thought through. The idea of a “trigger warning” encourages repression, fear, and paranoia.

  • Gandalf47

    I understand PTSD. I have two close family members who are disabled by it. I also understand “triggers”, which can be actions, words, images, or sounds that might remind a person with PTSD of a traumatic event or fear that causes them extreme fear or anxiety, or both.

    Having said that, I think this issue of “trigger warnings” in COLLEGE is patently ridiculous. College is where one goes to learn how to navigate in the world, and, I’ve got news for you – The World – Real Life – One’s Experience – does not put “trigger warnings” everywhere. Sure, there are signs with pictographic representations of potential hazards (mostly involving traffic) all over the place, but no signs warning that you might hear a sound that might trigger an emotional response, or any other traumatically-induced stimuli that one might encounter. Life happens, and sometimes it isn’t pretty. If we “sanitize” educational course content for fear it might trigger someone’s anxiety due to PTSD, or maybe even offend someone’s “sensibilities”, then we are bending over WAY too backwards in an attempt at social “equity”. I think someone may have referred to “warning label” given to new college students warning them of such “triggers”, and to reconsider coursework that might cause them discomfort.

    Did anyone else notice that the two most fervent proponents of “trigger warnings” both ended their statements with an question-like intonation? “Up-talking” is defined and discussed on the internet. Some think that it suggests that the person making the statement is seeking approval, whereas a declarative statement is merely stating a point of view and lets the listener decide, based on the facts presented.

    As a Baby Boomer, my generation and my kids’ generation have bent over backwards to protect our kids. Retrospectively, we did them no favors, and sometimes, their “sensibilities” are offended by relatively minor inconveniences. I guess this is the “new normal”, but I don’t think it is necessarily healthy.

  • Sy2502

    Misogynistic violence and racism are part of our history. Pretending they never happened in order to spare one’s china doll’s sensitivity isn’t just silly but right down dangerous. Ignoring the past’s mistakes is the easiest way to repeat them.

    • brettearle

      Excellent point.

  • OnPointComments

    I wonder what happens to that student who protested the “Sleepwalker” statue because it is a “a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault” when she encounters a male underwear mannequin in Macy’s.

    • kaaramel

      Maybe she doesn’t go near it or near places where naked mannekins will show up. Maybe it’s not just the underwear that triggers the flashbacks, but the body language as well. I for one wish there were warnings for pics and videos of snakes, just like movies and news stations have warnings for scenes of blood and dead bodies (which do not bother me). In fact, I asked one company to consider putting up warnings for pics and videos of snakes.

  • Kathy

    We have a culture of spoiled, demanding kids who got whatever they wanted at home by a multitude of bad behavior that went unchecked. This behavior continues in the classroom & in our society.

    • Lawrence

      Yes, exactly. And now they are trying to dictate course material.

  • JP

    Yet another way “higher” education is doing these kids a disservice, by making them even less prepared for the REAL WORLD. They’re in for a rude awakening if they think their future employers and society in general will coddle and cater to them like such fragile little snowflakes. The first time they call in to work because they were “triggered” the day before, they’ll either be fired or made a mockery.

    • OnPointComments

      The appropriate response to a student who wants trigger warnings on College courses.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0x-fkSYDtUY

      • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

        Specifically Cher responding to the student!

    • aaron

      You mean to tell me the world is not all rainbows and unicorns farting pixie dust? I can feel my reality crashing around me.

  • harverdphd

    Mrs Clinton…care to comment?

    • jefe68

      Grow up.

  • soundfriend

    I’m so happy I’m a mathematician. What nonsense.

    • jefe68

      You’re not safe, just wait…

      • soundfriend

        Based on what I’ve witnessed during the course of my career you are probably correct. Hopefully I’ll reach retirement (from teaching) before things get completely crazy.

  • Annie Tye

    I’m a grad student, a few years out from undergrad. We grew up playing Soldier of Fortune, Grand Theft Auto, etc. etc. We watched terrifying movies and school shootings were and are routine. Anyone who needs a warning before reading Huck Finn is either so sheltered that they are absolutely NOT ready for college or they are pathetically weak and woefully unaware of our history. What a joke!! I think this is a way for students to get out of doing their reading.

    • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

      BUMP!

  • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

    Women on this forum, please forgive me for the following comment, if you feel it is insensitive.

    But I MUST say, that statue is H I L A R I O U S!

  • http://alchemicalreaction.blogspot.com/ Alchemical Reaction

    The whole point of critical theory and college reading is to challenge your bias, point of view, misconceptions and understanding – and to get you to critically examine the bias and point of view of the author… It should be assumed that the purpose of ALL college reading is to challenge you to think in such a manner, and that ALL college reading will be potentially offensive. The warning should be for college in general… If students aren’t willing to examine their own bias they should not be granted a Bachelor’s degree. Maybe an associates.

  • amy

    As an untenured professor, it worries me that students want to make others (i.e., their professors) responsible for their own emotional responses to course material. I completely understand that some content and topics may cause discomfort. At the same time, it does a severe disservice to young adults to teach them that they are not responsible for regulating their own emotional experience.

  • Tim Deal

    Firtst of all I can’t believe a national radio program is devoting time to such a ridiculous subject. Secondly, I’d suggest any pansy-esque students who fear being offended by what they might encounter in class or elsewhere post a trigger warning on their front door that they can read each time they go out in the world. There – That’s your warning. Life can be challenging, expose you to things you’d rather not see, confront you with situations with which you may find difficult to cope with. Just ask any veteran of war who gave you the right to bring up such a nonsensical subject.

    • brettearle

      When legitimate outposts in Academia consider these measures, one can’t necessarily ignore the subject–as ridiculous as it is.

    • shane

      Its not as simple as pansy-esk students. Triggers is a term used to describe anything that draws a reaction from peoples emotions. Particularly people who suffer from some sort of trama have triggers they may or may not be aware of which can lead to dangerous changes in mood or behavior, this is not voluntary.

      Its not a bad idea to allow individuals who are aware of there triggers to be forwarned and allowed to at least condition themselfs for that they will read. Don’t we do this for film already?

      • Bill98

        Are we seriously going to compare college courses to Godzilla? Yes, we post warnings on movies, mainly to keep underage persons from viewing material that is troubling to them. Once one becomes an adult, such warnings no longer apply. I do believe that most college students qualify as adults, true? Well, then perhaps they should start acting like one.

    • Duras

      Since antiquity, academic freedom has been under attack. Sometimes academic freedom flourishes; sometimes it is squashed. Over the past 30 years or so, academic freedom is on the decline, especially in the Humanities and more so in the continental philosophies.

      I live in Florida and this is a serious issue right now, but it’s not part of everyday, public discourse.

  • technophant

    I had a girlfriend who read the book “Rape of Nanking” for a college history class. She was crying and having nightmares for several weeks. She wasn’t warned or given the option not to read it. I read it myself. It was the goriest, sickest thing I’ve ever read. I however had the option to stop reading.

    • MountainView

      It’s called “college.” Where one encounters, among other things, “history.” I’m guessing that, with a little initiative, your girlfriend could have bothered to read the back cover of the book, to get an idea of what the book was about.

    • twenty_niner

      Just think how tough it’s going to be on the Eloi when they’re just innocently putting flower petals in their poetry books, and a Morlock pops ups and carries them off to supper.

    • jefe68

      Let’s unpack this. It seems the book was required reading, yes? If so then it was on the book list for the class and would have been available to your girlfriend beforehand. She could have met with the professor or the TA to get a better overview of what the class was about.
      There was also the course description for the class which must have had some insight into the course content.

      She had the option of not taking the class and dropping it before the drop date. She obviously chose not to drop the course. People need to take some reasonability for their actions. It’s called growing up.

      • Coastghost

        The book in question is published with dozens of disturbing and horrific B/W photographs: decapitations, disembowelments, amputations, impalements, executions, even a cursory examination of the photographic content tells the concerned student that he’s holding a chamber of horrors in his hands.
        Or can “engaged Millennials” simply not be pestered with the minimal amount of page-turning required for examining a book?
        “Disengaged imbeciles” sounds much more appropriate to this cohort, though I’d be remiss in failing to cite their parents for their own practice of disengagement and imbecility.

        • jefe68

          I know the book. There is also a movie, City of Life and Death, directed by Lu Chuan which is very hard to watch. It took me three days, at it was just to much to take in all at once.

          When I was about 5 or 6 my parents sat me down to watch a program on the Holocaust, as it had a direct link to family members, I had nightmares for days afterwards. I survived and grew up a little that week.

    • Coastghost

      It would come as no consolation to learn that the book’s author, Iris Chang, committed suicide late in 2004.

    • kaaramel

      Hmm, I’m sympathetic to both sides of the argument here. Nothing in life is truly required. Your girlfriend should have stopped reading the book as soon as she realized what was happening to her. But I suspect she was somewhat addicted to it, and wanted to see what’s next, how it would end. I strongly believe some books should not be read. Life is hard as it is, it will be hard for everyone rich or poor. Why make it harder for yourself? I have no concluding statement. This is all I will say for now.

    • J__o__h__n

      The book was called the Rape of Nanking. How much more of a warning does one need?

    • Bill98

      Then the book had its intended effect. The treatment of the people of Nanking was, indeed, shocking. But, it’s also history. If your girlfriend took a course that covered that period of history, she needs to understand what happened there. She most certainly should NOT have had the option not to read the book, and still receive credit for the course.

  • aaron

    Are you even living in the same America I am? People now a days here are so coddled and sheltered and censored from the real world and desensitized to any sort of compassion towards the sufferings of others it is appalling to say the least. Im honestly surprised any stuff in a book would actually bother them considering it doesnt seam to bother them when it happens in real life.

    • brettearle

      The worse `it’ gets, the more people are inured.

    • myblusky

      And yet we have bullying online and people being exposed 24/7 to every random thought that pops into anyone’s head – I’m guilty right now of this as I type out the thoughts going through my own head.

      We are in a strange mess and the need to control what is publicly put before us seems to be a reaction to the overload we are getting from the constant flow of information via the internet, radio, tv etc… There is very little quite in the world – very little time for our brains to contemplate before being assaulted with more information.

      It’s just an observation. I have no solution because I don’t see people turning off their devices and attempting to live a more conscious life.

      • aaron

        I agree. Its a overload of information.

  • Lady355

    I am astounded that some college students (aka adults) are seeking to be protected by a rating system for their classes and reading material. Here’s the thing, life doesn’t come with a warning label. You don’t know what’s going to happen and you can’t anticipate when a “trigger” will set you off. As much as I would like to have one, there is no soundtrack for life. No melody replete with moody notes and dark tones to warn us of peril or a playful and perky tune to let us know love is just around the corner. Bad things happen and how we handle them is a testament to our personal grace and self respect. If you cannot, on your own, research your class syllabus and find where your pitfalls may be and prepare yourself you do not belong in a college classroom. Find something else to do.

  • Lawrence

    Why should academia have to tip-toe around and capitulate to those who are overly sensitive and easy to offend? This is the real world we are living in. The world doesn’t stop just because someone might be offended.

  • Lawrence

    Brilliant.

  • MountainView

    This is the result of the corporatization of the university, in which college students (and their parents) are “clients” or “customers,” who must be coddled every step of the way. And, in particular, upper-middle-class-and-beyond college students. I’ve been teaching college for 20 years and the current generational crop is unbelievably entitled. Even if we were to take this whole “trigger warning” nonsense seriously, how–exactly–could a college professor be expected to make allowances for each and every student who might possibly be “offended” by any text or film or even discussion? It would be a pedagogical descent into lunacy. On a further note, given the fact that the planet is under siege, along with the future of this generation, as well as those to follow, you’d think that this generation of college students would be demanding to know hard truths, and would be rising up en masse to fight for life itself. But no. Given their extraordinary level of shallow self-involvement, they are instead whining about how sensitive they are and how their college professors must go to the ends of the earth to keep the truth as palatable as possible, so as not to “offend” their sensibilities. College is no longer college; it’s turned into a babysitting factory for the moneyed elite. After 20 years of teaching, I’ve yet to encounter a working-class student who can’t handle the truth about anything.

    • jefe68
    • twenty_niner

      “upper-middle-class-and-beyond college students”

      Who have probably never been punched in the face.

      I think I have a solution.

    • JS

      “It would be a descent into pedagogical lunacy.”

      - Amen brother

    • Duras

      I teach at a community college and I find the same entitlement attitude from upper-middle-class white males, in particular. I devote a week to MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and a week of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” and I lose those students for the entire semester.

      It scares me. I am 10 years older than those students. My background is upper-middle-class and I too am a white male, but I am still shocked over this narrow-minded attitude. They think college is a bus ride: they pay for their tickets, sit down next to a few people, and expect to get off at a comfortable life.

      Nonetheless, here is the real entitlement attitude.

      • twenty_niner

        “Nonetheless, here is the real entitlement attitude”

        Four to ten years of this, 10 hours a day, usually fixes the problem:

        • Duras

          I don’t know what you are talking about.

          • twenty_niner

            “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

            Getting a PhD then working as a barista might knock a chip or two off a shoulder or two.

          • Duras

            That’s just a product of political economy.
            In the 1960s, the humanity departments were huge. Now the athletic departments are bigger. But what history shows is that a devotion to humanities and democracy produces societies of scientific tolerance and inquiry. The correlation is so prevalent in history that it suggest causation. What is most sad is short-sighted, scientism that goes around mocking the intelligentsia it needs.

            Also, you could be referring to the ivory tower complex. In reference to my comment above, I have students who work 32 hour a week jobs and others have parents who set them up with a stock portfolio. It is the students with the stock portfolio who exhibit the entitlement attitude.

          • twenty_niner

            “In the 1960s, the humanity departments were huge’

            The post-war economy with the US left as the only standing industrial power (at least in the free world) is an aberration that will likely never exist again – any future world war would likely put us back in the 19th century – so use it as a reference with extreme care.

            Further, the revolution in electronics and the space program in the 60s ignited the imaginations of a generation of future engineers and scientists.

            Now kids either want to work on Wall Street, become celebrities, or do F all, with the latter becoming increasingly popular.

          • Duras

            But, you should note the economic restructuring that took place in the 1980s in America, while the rest of the civilized world – except England – veered into a different economic path.

            Again, the case for the Humanities isn’t located exclusively in 1960s America. You can how the flowering of the humanities led to democracy and technological development in the Romantic Period, the Enlightenment Period, and especially in the Renaissance; also, in the ancient world as well.

      • IHateFatChicks

        Your comment has NOTHING to do with the promotion of ridiculous “trigger warnings” and politically correct, and politically inept speech control by social justice warriors.

      • Bill98

        “from upper-middle-class white males”
        I doubt it’s this group that is responsible for seeking such warnings on the works of Mark Twain, and his use of the ‘N’-word, now, is it? This type of manufactured victimhood began in the minority and feminist communities. While it has, regrettably, spread to white men, it is by no means their exclusive domain.

  • twenty_niner

    Maybe drop “The Misogyny of Jethro Bodine and the Complicity of Granny” and take a calculus course.

    If these are the courses you’re taking, you’ll need a trigger warning for your first six months at Starbucks after graduation where you’ll be responsible for swapping out the hockey pucks in the urinals.

  • jefe68

    Here, here! Well said Mer.

  • JS

    Nobody is forcing anyone to read a book or watch a movie about anything. College students, you know, Adults, CHOOSE to take a certain class/course/subject and are required to meet the class requirements in order to pass.

    And about reading a book “about” sexual assault/racism/abuse/etc.: If a book is “about” those things, as opposed to merely having a scene mentioning those things, it’s a fair bet that it is in a class “about” those things.

    Also, as a White Male I have been a victim of racism, and have lived through it and therefore have been exposed, first hand. Do you really think I wouldn’t need to read a book if I was taking a class on “Racism in America”

    • julia

      no one said that because it’s sensitive material it will no longer be read/seen/etc…you don’t give a warning about something you aren’t going to do. no one is saying it’s a get out of jail free card. it’s a simple statement saying that a certain work may be disturbing, and then continuing on, that’s all.

      giving a trigger warning for legitimately upsetting material and still doing the material is not the same as just not doing it. that’s a different issue. the original discussion/question here was not “should we avoid these subjects in college courses?”

      and no, i’m not saying that people who are victims to sorts of violence or prejudice should not have to read the course material, but I am saying that if anybody understands these upsetting topics, it’s the people who have lived through it. I was raped and can read and see things about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, and it took some time to get there. maybe it happens to someone 2 weeks before school starts…that changes things.

      • JS

        Your quote: “a person has been the victim … does not necessarily need to be forced to read a book or watch a movie about it.” – seems like you are suggesting a “get out of jail free” card.

        Define “disturbing”, and make sure your definition is consistent and would be agreed upon by every single college professor, every potential student, and all other advocates and special interest.

        Define “legitimately upsetting material”. Is Huck Finn to be included? West SIde Story? Watership Down?

        It’s unworkable and unnecessary for Adults.

        Sitting down to watch a TV show where children have access to the material is one thing. College students are Adults and should be treated a s such, not as coddled children. And shouldn’t students take a little more responsibility in signing up and learning about their classes then they do choosing a TV show?

        I still cant imagine in which classes all this rape and violence is cropping up?

  • Markus6

    I still think this was a joke, or close. The planned guest cancelled and a busy producer said I know some dopes who want warnings on classes cause they might be harmed – and believe it or not, I found a professor naive enough to fall for it. Fun show.

  • Coastghost

    Gee, just last week it was only “one-in-five” college-age women alleging victimization of sexual assault. Statistically, that’s a large increase for a single week, esp. now that spring terms are over and summer school has barely begun.

  • JS

    What classes are you taking where there is material related to sexual violence? Since your post mentions sexual violence, shouldn’t you have warned us first?

  • Emil

    Why did this have anything to do with college? What are we saying, that in college we have to warn students about potentially disturbing material (Which apparently will be any book or movie) but once they leave the classroom it’s up to them to shield themselves?

    Shouldn’t these people urging these changes be looking for changes everywhere and not just colleges? Once these students graduate, then what? They have another 60 years of their life out in the real world, where is this common courtesy from college going to be then?

    Fact is, there is no trigger warning for people in the real world. If anything, colleges should be teaching students how to protect themselves and that they may be susceptible to difficult issues. I think this is all very closed-minded and if they truly cared they wouldn’t be looking at petty rules in colleges.

    • lddiamondgirl .

      Once they leave the class room? Well, when they go on to the workforce they can now look forward to company “Praise Teams” which are organized just for them, so that they won’t feel ignored or undervalued which could lead to great anxiety and depression on the job. (Not a joke, look it up).

  • kaaramel

    Hmm. Good points. My personal take is: because I know from experiences before and after college that life is hard, I limit when and how often I subject myself to the details of other people’s sufferings. I’m not the kind of person that can ‘half-care’ about something. I don’t always want to hear about about massacres and rapes, especially since I know I cannot fix it how I want to and as quickly as I would want to. Are warnings the way to go? No, a detailed course description should suffice. I think the root of the matter is not that some students are asking for trigger warnings for courses, the root of the matter is how do we deal with life. Some people, including grown-ups cannot, or will not deal, hence suicides.

    • myblusky

      Kaaramel – I too share your sensitivity to suffering. I want to fix everything and then the realization that I can’t leads to a downward spiral of depression. I did go to therapy and I did study Buddhism – all of which helped me to learn to let go of trying to control the outcome of every situation, however, I also have to shut things off and tune things out. I truly don’t believe the human brain was meant to have so much information (and misinformation) shoved into it.

      You said the root of the matter is how we deal with life – and maybe that should be a course in college – heck, even high school, junior high and elementary school. Coping skills, life skills, decision making skills – those would be great classes and society would be a much better place for it!

  • twenty_niner

    This is just another fractal in the fastest-growing industry in the US, victim-nomics. Upper-middle class white kids often find it challenging to get their piece of the victim pie, but there is one method that is catching on fast: being constantly offended. Using quantum field theory, you can almost prove that every phrase ever written is at some level, misogynist, sexist, or racist, or at least, somehow, offensive.

    With practice, you can almost attain a constant level of being offended, and from their it’s not a hard leap to get to full-blown victim nirvana, the new pinnacle in the hierarchy of needs. Once there, all sins are absolved. You can now bask in a mental opium den, imaging what could have been if it weren’t for all of the meanies who put you in your sorry state.

    • IHateFatChicks

      Truer words were never spoken.

  • IHateFatChicks

    This is beyond ridiculous and is a horrible misuse of resources, time, energy allows SJW’s (social justice warriors) engage in fallacious actions and arguments to support ludicrous positions with no foundation in fact or reason. It’s logically, intellectually and factually challenged.

    In 1977 the National Socialist Party of America (American Nazi Party) announced their intention to march in Skokie, where 1 in 6 residents was a holocaust survivor, wave their flag (swastikas) and wear their Nazi uniforms. Both Chicago and Skokie legally fought these marches. The US Supreme Court in June of 1977 (National Socialist Party of America et al. v. Village of Skokie Docket nos.76-1786) ruled in June of 1977 that the barring of their march and wearing the swastika was a First Amendment violation. Suffice to say, they marched. I may not agree with the message everyone has but the right to voice their opinion is absolute. The marketplace of ideas doesn’t deserve “trigger warnings” nor does it merit it. Higher education is where people go to become exposed to a wide array and range of ideas, concepts and opinions enabling them to become better citizens and humans and form their own unique point of view. We don’t need “feminists”, social justice warriors or anyone else policing our free speech or imposing their model of what “free speech” constitutes upon us. They are promoting fascism and ridiculous, politically correct, politically inept ideology. Time for them to grow up. You don’t get to control what others say merely because you find it offensive or differing from you own opinions or worldview. That’s infantile.

  • OnPointComments

    Someone whose psyche is so fragile that they need trigger warnings for college courses should probably not be enrolled in college. Instead, they be should under the care of a psychiatrist to help them solve their mental health issues.

    • IHateFatChicks

      I like you already.

  • IHateFatChicks

    If truly 1 of 5 women were being sexually assaulted/raped wouldn’t that constitute a health and legal crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen? Lets do the numbers. There are approximately 17,487,475 students enrolled in college in the USA. Approximately 57.4% of those are women, meaning 10,037,810 are women. By the “1:5″ claim that would mean NO LESS than 2,000,000 were sexually assaulted/raped attending higher education. You understand how ridiculous and ludicrous a claim that is and how delusional and unsupportable it is based upon the actual empirical data and facts?

    http://www.statisticbrain.com/college-enrollment-statistics/

    http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98

    “Rape Culture” in industrialized, First World nations is a myth, especially in the USA. SJW who parrot this ridiculous tripe are demonstrably logically, intellectually and factually challenged. Here, let me help you understand why it’s a fallacy:

    “Statistics surrounding sexual assault are notoriously unreliable and inconsistent, primarily because of vague and expansive definitions of what qualifies as sexual assault. Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute explains that the study often cited as the origin of the “one in five” factoid is an online survey conducted under a grant from the Justice Department. Surveyors employed such a broad definition that “‘forced kissing” and even “attempted forced kissing” qualified as sexual assault.

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ “Violent Victimization of College Students” report tells a different and more plausible story about campus culture. During the years surveyed, 1995-2002, the DOJ found that there were six rapes or sexual assaults per thousand per year. Across the nation’s four million female college students, that comes to about one victim in forty students. Other DOJ statistics show that the overall rape rate is in sharp decline: since 1995, the estimated rate of female rape or sexual assault victimizations has decreased by about 60 percent.

    Of course, there are still far too many college women who are victims of sexual assault. But there’s little evidence to support the claim that campus rape is an “epidemic,” as Yale student activist Alexandra Brodsky recently wrote in the Guardian.”

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/10/24/statistics-dont-back-up-claims-about-rape-culture

    http://time.com/30545/its-time-to-end-rape-culture-hysteria/

    http://www.thefire.org/cases/university-of-north-dakota-accuser-is-criminally-charged-with-lying-to-police-but-school-refuses-to-reopen-misconduct-case/

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/10/24/statistics-dont-back-up-claims-about-rape-culture

    http://chronicle.com/article/In-Making-Campuses-Safe-for/127766/

    http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/vvcs02.pdf

    http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fvsv9410.pdf

    http://totalsororitymove.com/the-government-claims-that-one-in-five-women-are-raped-this-feminist-says-otherwise-and-her-argument-is-fascinating/

    The “rape epidemic” is an elaborate fraud that has been disproven as such. It’s bunk and ridiculous and anyone who comments otherwise rhas no clue what they’re talking about. “Feminists” cite their imaginary statistics as evidence of forcible rate and assault. The statistics they cite have the following problems:

    1. They grossly inflate the numbers.
    2. The ACTUAL data and statistics entirely refutes their claim of a “rape culture” as the trending and numbers have significantly decreased.
    3. 1 in 5 women ARE NOT RAPED ON CAMPUS. The actual data refutes this is a figment of their fertile imagination and outright lies.
    4. The NCVS that they “cite” is entirely self-reported and doesn’t disclose the differences between UCR and NIBRS data, classifications, victimology, weapons, whether act was completed or not and crime categories.
    5. The NCVS is limited in scope and classification, they acknowledge and admit that “interviewee” and “respondent” data is unreliable because these respondents don’t meet evidentiary or legal standards, whatsoever. They lie and fabricate. It’s self-reporting which leads to exaggeration and false reporting. It leads to biases such as: “telescoping”, memory errors, errors of deception and sampling errors. It also doesn’t follow required, statistical, scientific modeling.
    6.The NCVS is not official, as it’s self-reporting and the actual, official data refutes it.

    Here are some of the appropriate mathematical, statistical equations you must use, which they didn’t in pulling these numbers from their ass:

    x = Z(c/100)2r(100-r)

    n = N x/((N-1)E2 + x)

    E = Sqrt[(N - n)x/n(N-1)]

    • jefe68

      Wow, that name you have there is going to push a few buttons. If you’re trying to get the vote for the most obnoxious moniker I think you’ll win hands down. You should grow up though.

      • IHateFatChicks

        Me grow up? That’s ironic and rich, coming from you. My comments are intellectually, factually and logically consistent and supported by legitimate empirical, peer reviewed data which is sourced and substantiated. What do you offer? :)

        Methinks you’re one of those misguided, delusional, uneducated SJW’s who are promoting this kind of ridiculous restriction of free speech and the marketplace of ideas.

        • jefe68

          Go on, pontificate away to your hearts delight. The irony is only an a_ _hole with the mental age of a 15 year old boy with “issues” would use such a moniker. Do you really think that you should be taken seriously with this act you’re putting on here?

          • IHateFatChicks

            I’ll happily compare my educational background, CV, balance sheet and accomplishments against a nobody like you. I’ve accomplished more than someone like you could ever hope to. As I said, you’re nobody. That’s the irony. :)

          • jefe68

            I see that you like to engage in juvenile behavior. Which is to be expected given the moniker. How would you know what my balance sheet is or CV and background are? Not that it’s any of your business. Nor is it relevant.

            You seem to be insecure, how else does one explain such an inane comment.

          • brettearle

            The use of the word, `insecure’, above, is a glaring euphemism

          • IHateFatChicks

            So, what was the 1st, last and security deposit on your doublewide? :)

          • IHateFatChicks

            I see that you’re GED is serving well. So, that’s what constitutes higher education in your gene pool and cultural background. Good to know!

          • jefe68

            Arrogant prattle does not pass for intellectual prowess. You keep on proving that you are an insecure little man-boy, what a waste of gray matter.

          • IHateFatChicks

            Thank you for proving my point you half-wit of a simpleton.

          • brettearle

            Anyone who comes across, the way you come across, is a true loser.

          • IHateFatChicks

            That’s ironic, coming from you. :)

      • 1Brett1

        They seem to multiply like bacteria on here, lately…

        • jefe68

          They sure are, and there seems to be a trend towards seeing who can out nut job the other nut job.

      • brettearle

        It’s gratuitous and is designed to be controversial; to offend; and, most of all, to draw attention to itself.

        It is not intended to stretch the boundaries of Free Speech–to prove a point.

        It’s intention is to be a wise ass.

        Instead, this grossly misguided participant comes across as a true Sphincter.

        • jefe68

          With hemorrhoids.

          • brettearle

            Nice Touch.

            [No pun intended.]

        • IHateFatChicks

          That’s ironic coming from “you” and rather amusing that 2 troglodytes have such a difficult time with literacy and comprehension.

          • brettearle

            Yes sir, this grossly misguided participant comes across as a true Sphincter.

  • GregAbdul

    I heard part of the program and the callers displayed a troubling trend. We are in a national and an international dialouge. We do all this talking not just for the sake of talking. After thousands of years of disccusion, we know for example, that anti-semitism is wrong. We don’t have many debates about whether is is okay to opine about the evil Jews or the lazy blacks. Many white people are uncomfortable with the new rules. One caller talked about how the rules have changed since the 90s. The 90s was the institution of DOMA. Now as gays get more protection, all of us have to be more careful about gay comments. They are a new protected class and the list keeps growing and as the list grows, the racist and bigoted things we can say shrink. That is the whole reason we have or national dialogues. The whole idea of a civilization is that we identify uncivilized behaviors. So if someone wants to debate Jefferson or mark Twain, fine, and be uncomfortable talking about them as racist or heroes, but our national dialouges are much more advanced than the House of Representatives. Culturally we know that red meat and race baiting are not done in decent company. As far as the actual topic, if any student fears being offended, that is a discussion they can have before they start the course and I think most of us can agree I don’t need the professor warning me when I think I am a pretty big boy who can take it until and unless I say otherwise.

  • Coastghost

    If undergraduates really insist on receiving “trigger warnings” for course content, university administrators and prospective employers have every equal right to insist that the proper notation of such deference to student affectivity become a formal part of students’ records and transcripts. All available evidence of emotional fragility or incapacitation would likely be welcome.

    • ElisianTime

      Oh yes! Once a psych record is documented then the job offers roll in! This is exactly what the medical industrial complex would love. Evidence of psychiatric fragility without the need to protect as medical.

  • ElisianTime

    As someone who has endured rape, I disagree with you. I got help. The classroom is no place for “warning labels” since the requirement is that students come ready to learn.

    While I have given warnings when I taught doc film, I did this as a courtesy for all, since some footage is simply disturbing.

    We have become document fanatics (warning labels are documents).

  • http://naturalhealthperspective.com/ J Gohde

    Smells like it is just an underhanded way to avoid having to read books that you really don’t want to bother with.

  • Regular_Listener

    Oh, it is THAT kind of warning. When I first saw the headline, I thought the warning labels were going to read something like, “Be forewarned. You are unlikely to be able to earn much money if you pursue a course of study in this subject!” or something like that.

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