College Students Push for Sensitivity Trigger Warnings in Classes

Friday, 04 Apr 2014 02:32 PM

By Lisa Barron

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The political correctness police are making their way onto college campuses with a new push for trigger warnings in the classroom to protect sensitivities.

Trigger warnings are normally attached to blog posts or online news stories to warn of potentially offensive or upsetting content, but now censorship activists want professors to attach them to their syllabi, the Daily Caller reports.

The student government at the University of California-Santa Barbara, for example, recently passed a resolution that urged administrators to adopt mandatory trigger warnings as official university policy last month.

“This is not meant to censor … but it really just asks that professors and other people on campus acknowledge the effects of triggering content on students with PTSD,” said Bailey Loverin, who sponsored the resolution, reported the student-run newspaper The Daily Nexus.

A sophomore at Rutgers University wrote an editorial in the Daily Targum calling for the use of trigger warnings on the basis that "by creating trigger warnings for their students, professors can help to create a safe space for their students — one that fosters positive and compassionate intellectual discussion within the collegiate classroom.”

But critics on all sides are fighting back. "Perhaps every political generation is fated to be appalled by the one that succeeds it. In the 1960s, longtime socialist intellectuals were horrified by the anarchic energies of the new left," wrote The Nation's Michelle Goldberg.

"Then some of those new leftists reached middle age and watched, aghast, as new speech codes proliferated on college campuses during the first iteration of political correctness. I was in college then and am now in my thirties, which means it’s my turn to be dismayed by a growing left-wing tendency towards censoriousness and hair-trigger offense."

"What began as a way of moderating Internet forums for the vulnerable and mentally ill now threatens to define public discussion both online and off," writer Jenny Jarvie said in The New Republic.

"Bending the world to accommodate our personal frailties does not help us overcome them."

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