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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: 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.

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