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Colleges call for "trigger warnings" for college students
March 10, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
Here are a few ridiculous anecdotes from the annals of politically correct higher education.
Last month, The New Republic reported, the student government at the University of California in Santa Barbara passed a resolution "urging officials to institute mandatory trigger warnings on class syllabi." This would require professors to warn students that their delicate minds might be harmed by certain subject matter, such as the "suicide, domestic abuse and graphic violence" in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" or "the racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence and suicide" in Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart." Meanwhile, Oberlin College, home of some of the nation's most hypersensitive young snowflakes (AKA "college students") advises its professors to "be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression," to remove triggering material when it doesn't "directly" contribute to learning goals and "strongly consider" developing a policy to make "triggering material" optional."
I know that many students have had terrible things happen in their lives that haunt them to this day. The "trigger warning" is well-intentioned, though incredibly misguided, because it is meant to avoid causing pain. But I also don't think it is possible to avoid a little pain or disturbance in the course of being educated. I read "Gatsby" when I was a sophomore in high school and "Things Fall Apart" as a college freshman and, yes, there were some disturbing scenes in each novel. There are other books I have read that have brought back memories of some difficult and painful events in my own life. I don't think any student ought to be excused from reading either novel, regardless of whether he or she has been a victim of abuse or had a loved one commit suicide. I shudder to think of a country run by the likes of these graduates of Oberlin College.
Meanwhile, at the University of South Carolina, future social workers are reading a social work textbook by Karen Kirst-Ashman of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater" that describes "former President Ronald Reagan as a sexist who "ascribed to women primarily domestic functions," and writes conservatives off as people who are "pessimistic" about human nature," according to the CBS Charlotte network. The book makes the claim that Reagan appointed few women to positions of power. I was not a particular fan of the late President Reagan, but I do give him his due. He nominated the first female Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the first female U.S. representative to the United Nations. Critics are rightfully raising a ruckus over the seeming bias of the textbook, which is described as "balanced" in the online blurb given by its publisher. It appears to be anything but.
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