Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by LaminatorX on Monday May 19 2014, @06:24AM   Printer-friendly

Raw Story summarizes a New York Times report that 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.

The debate has left many academics fuming, saying that professors should be trusted to use common sense and that being provocative is part of their mandate. Trigger warnings, they say, suggest a certain fragility of mind that higher learning is meant to challenge, not embrace. "Any kind of blanket trigger policy is inimical to academic freedom," said Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor, who often uses graphic depictions of torture in her courses about war. "Any student can request some sort of individual accommodation, but to say we need some kind of one-size-fits-all approach is totally wrong. The presumption there is that students should not be forced to deal with something that makes them uncomfortable is absurd or even dangerous."

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said, "It is only going to get harder to teach people that there is a real important and serious value to being offended. Part of that is talking about deadly serious and uncomfortable subjects."

A summary of the College Literature, along with the appropriate trigger warnings, assumed or suggested in the article is as follows: Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" (anti-Semitism), Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" (suicide), "The Great Gatsby" (misogynistic violence), and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (racism).

Note: The Raw Story link was provided to provide an alternative to the article source, the New York Times, due to user complaints about the NYT website paywalling their articles.

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19 2014, @06:39AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19 2014, @06:39AM (#45101)

    For crying out loud, if the fragile little 'snowflakes' can't even handle literary references to violence and racism how the hell are they going to handle real life? posting anon because my account is jacked and can't be retrieved.

    Starting Score:    0  points
    Moderation   +3  
       Insightful=2, Interesting=1, Total=3
    Extra 'Insightful' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   3  
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Kell on Monday May 19 2014, @07:00AM

    by Kell (292) on Monday May 19 2014, @07:00AM (#45107)

    I agree. While PTSD is debilitating, this seems a hugely disproportionate response for a problem that does not have credible evidence for its existence. There has never been such a calling need for such warnings in a society that is awash with gun violence and warfare related material, even when there are many documented cases of veterans experiencing PTSD triggered by such things. Society did not deem that accounts of violence or warfare imagery should be so prefaced; why do we suddenly feel that college students who have never even been exposed to such things should be so sensitive?
     
    Putting on my fireproof underwear for a moment, I will hazard a guess that this initiative comes from the same cuckoo segment of the population who feel they are 'victims' for all manner of sundry things that the rest of us would consider no big deal, and who fall all over themselves to brand about half of the populace as deviant predatory abusers. You know who I'm talking about.

    --
    Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
    • (Score: 1, Troll) by Maow on Monday May 19 2014, @07:32AM

      by Maow (8) on Monday May 19 2014, @07:32AM (#45119) Homepage

      I agree with your first paragraph.

      Putting on my fireproof underwear for a moment, I will hazard a guess that this initiative comes from the same cuckoo segment of the population who feel they are 'victims' for all manner of sundry things that the rest of us would consider no big deal, and who fall all over themselves to brand about half of the populace as deviant predatory abusers. You know who I'm talking about.

      Would that be the cuckoo segment that's in academia and feel slighted if everyone, everywhere, doesn't go out of their way to accommodate everyone, all the time? i.e. lefties in academia?

      Or would that be the conservatives, always on the attack, always slagging others as professional victims, but once called out on their own bad behaviour, instantly embrace shrill victimhood? i.e. Rob Ford of Toronto, Stephan Harper (Ottawa), or innumerable other examples?

      I guess if we say the "cuckoo segment" are aka "the political fringes" then ... it's settled.

      If you disagree, then obviously YOU'RE REPRESSING ME LIKE A NAZI WOULD!!1!

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Oligonicella on Monday May 19 2014, @12:12PM

        by Oligonicella (4169) on Monday May 19 2014, @12:12PM (#45177)

        "Would that be the cuckoo segment that's in academia and feel slighted if everyone, everywhere, doesn't go out of their way to accommodate everyone, all the time? i.e. lefties in academia?"

        Yes, yes it would be. One simply need read the names and affiliations of those demanding these strictures to see this.

        • (Score: 2) by Maow on Tuesday May 20 2014, @10:38AM

          by Maow (8) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @10:38AM (#45551) Homepage

          "Would that be the cuckoo segment that's in academia and feel slighted if everyone, everywhere, doesn't go out of their way to accommodate everyone, all the time? i.e. lefties in academia?"

          Yes, yes it would be. One simply need read the names and affiliations of those demanding these strictures to see this.

          Yes, way to miss the point.

          There is more than one "cuckoo segment" of society that's perpetually offended / victimized. They exist on both sides of the political spectrum.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19 2014, @04:44PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19 2014, @04:44PM (#45282)

        Would that be the cuckoo segment that's in academia and feel slighted if everyone, everywhere, doesn't go out of their way to accommodate everyone, all the time? i.e. lefties in academia?

        Or would that be the conservatives, always on the attack, always slagging others as professional victims, but once called out on their own bad behaviour, instantly embrace shrill victimhood? i.e. Rob Ford of Toronto, Stephan Harper (Ottawa), or innumerable other examples?

        Yes.

    • (Score: 1) by VortexCortex on Monday May 19 2014, @01:15PM

      by VortexCortex (4067) on Monday May 19 2014, @01:15PM (#45198)

      Society did not deem that accounts of violence or warfare imagery should be so prefaced; why do we suddenly feel that college students who have never even been exposed to such things should be so sensitive?

      Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by eactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. ... The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for commiting thought-crime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that. ... Has it ever occcured to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?

      - George Orwell, 1984

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by davester666 on Monday May 19 2014, @07:05AM

    by davester666 (155) on Monday May 19 2014, @07:05AM (#45108)

    Next up, better kill debate club, because the losing side will feel bad.

    Might as well just kill all debate on campus, because you never know when you might use an argument that will send the other person into a murderous rampage.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Horse With Stripes on Monday May 19 2014, @10:09AM

      by Horse With Stripes (577) on Monday May 19 2014, @10:09AM (#45148)

      Next up, better kill debate club, because the losing side will feel bad.

      Not if you give them "Everyone Who Participates is a Winner" ribbons or little trophies. Those make everyone feel better. BUT, you must provide a trigger warning "contains competition and inequitable distribution of accolades based on performance" to make sure everyone knows what they are getting in to.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by tangomargarine on Monday May 19 2014, @02:30PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Monday May 19 2014, @02:30PM (#45223)

      Might as well just kill all debate on campus, because you never know...

      Whoa, whoa! You didn't warn me that we were going to be talking about killing stuff. Now I'm traumatized.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 1) by GrumblyStuff on Monday May 19 2014, @06:05PM

        by GrumblyStuff (4351) on Monday May 19 2014, @06:05PM (#45313)

        Balls to the debate club, I say. As TV pundits and presidential candidates have shown, "winning" debates is a matter of firing a barrage of short arguments at your opponent, each of which would require an explanation longer than the whole debate.

        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday May 19 2014, @06:50PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Monday May 19 2014, @06:50PM (#45327)

          My favorite instance was when we had a political debate on my college campus and someone stood up and asked, "Why does the Republican Party hate women?" Those were their exact words.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Monday May 19 2014, @02:43PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 19 2014, @02:43PM (#45232)

      Do you think the same thing about epilepsy? Do you think something known to send people into epileptic shock should have a warning?

      I doubt this warning was suggested to prevent sad feelings. It was probably suggested to warn someone sensitive to extreme images. Overkill outside of an extreme, obviously. But i really question how someone sensitive to torture images would take a class on torture and not expect to see it, lol. Which makes the whole warning pointless.

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19 2014, @04:57PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19 2014, @04:57PM (#45288)

        I doubt this warning was suggested to prevent sad feelings. It was probably suggested to warn someone sensitive to extreme images. Overkill outside of an extreme, obviously. But i really question how someone sensitive to torture images would take a class on torture and not expect to see it, lol. Which makes the whole warning pointless.

        On the drive to work today I passed a van covered with graphic photos of a foetus which had been aborted at 26 weeks. Pretty graphic, actually. I was driving along and, without warning, there it was in traffic right in front of me. Shouldn't someone have given me a warning ahead of time? What do you think? Should I sue someone?

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by zafiro17 on Monday May 19 2014, @05:20PM

          by zafiro17 (234) on Monday May 19 2014, @05:20PM (#45298) Homepage

          Any snowflake taking a university level course on human rights violations/torture who is unable to handle actually seeing pictures of actual torture, has made a strategic life choice error. If you can handle the pictures, you shouldn't be studying the subject. Go change majors and enjoy your new lifestyle studying something else, fer crying out loud.

          --
          Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis - Jack Handey
        • (Score: 2) by tibman on Monday May 19 2014, @08:00PM

          by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 19 2014, @08:00PM (#45351)

          Unfortunately, warnings are often done as a courtesy and not a legal requirement. They should probably remain that way as well. So even though you were grossed out and didn't want to see that image, it was their right to display it. Discourteous, for sure.

          The more common version of this is participating in an image board where shock images are not banned (free speech). You're going along and reading some comics then bam! goatse taking up a huge part of your display.. staring right back at you.

          --
          SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 2) by umafuckitt on Monday May 19 2014, @07:48PM

      by umafuckitt (20) on Monday May 19 2014, @07:48PM (#45347)

      You joke, but I think you're on to something. Mockery is the best way of dealing with this stuff. We should all start petitioning for random crap, like your debate idea, to become part of higher education.