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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.

 
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  • (Score: 2) by BsAtHome on Monday May 19 2014, @12:04PM

    by BsAtHome (889) on Monday May 19 2014, @12:04PM (#45175)

    Not only does it, or intents to, discredit academia, it is a direct attack on education as a whole. I agree that there are groups of people that are "sensitive" to a certain subject, but the point of education is to make one think, regardless of subject. Especially higher education is supposed to be about confronting the status quo and look beyond it. How else do you expect "progress" to happen? The status quo is by definition stagnation.

    Any group holding on to the status quo is simply trying to consolidate their power. That in itself should be enough to question their motives and actively resist them.

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  • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday May 19 2014, @02:32PM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Monday May 19 2014, @02:32PM (#45225)

    If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

    --
    "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 tftp on Monday May 19 2014, @07:38PM

    by tftp (806) on Monday May 19 2014, @07:38PM (#45343) Homepage

    Any group holding on to the status quo is simply trying to consolidate their power.

    Or it could be that the status quo correctly depicts the situation. For example, how would you move past the claim that all people have right for life? Should the society go past that obsolete concept and, for example, propose a theory of involuntary cannibalism? Would you like to read a book that describes this theory in detail and proposes some specific recipes? What would you do if the teacher tells you to read such a book?