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Warning, this post may “Trigger” you to think

Warning, this post may “Trigger” you to think

“Trigger Warnings” are the latest method of enforcing conformity on campus

The fragile college student mind is getting more fragile by the day.

As if the normal run of political correctness were not enough, we now have “Trigger Warnings” — the notion that students need to be warned that the material they are about to read in class may “trigger” emotional upset.

The concept has been growing on campuses over the past couple of years.  The New York Times reports:

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 warnings, which have their ideological roots in feminist thought, have gained the most traction at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where the student government formally called for them. But there have been similar requests from students at Oberlin College, Rutgers University,the University of Michigan, George Washington University and other schools.

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. The warnings have been widely debated in intellectual circles and largely criticized in opinion magazines, newspaper editorials and academic email lists.

“Any kind of blanket trigger policy is inimical to academic freedom,” said Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor at the university here, 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.”

Of course, how the trigger is defined says much about the theory behind the movement — it almost always serves left-wing critical race and gender theories, as at Oberlin, as the Times further reports:

At Oberlin College in Ohio, a draft guide was circulated that would have asked professors to put trigger warnings in their syllabuses. The guide said they should flag anything that might “disrupt a student’s learning” and “cause trauma,” including anything that would suggest the inferiority of anyone who is transgender (a form of discrimination known as cissexism) or who uses a wheelchair (or ableism).

“Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression,” the guide said. “Realize that all forms of violence are traumatic, and that your students have lives before and outside your classroom, experiences you may not expect or understand.” For example, it said, while “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe — a novel set in colonial-era Nigeria — is a “triumph of literature that everyone in the world should read,” it could “trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide and more.”

The Featured Image to this post led to demands for Trigger warnings at Wellesley College, as we reported at College Insurrection:

“[T]his highly lifelike sculpture has, within just a few hours of its outdoor installation, become a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for many members of our campus community,” says the petition, which was penned by student Lauren Walsh. “While it may appear humorous, or thought-provoking to some, it has already become a source of undue stress for many Wellesley College students, the majority of whom live, study, and work in this space.”

The Trigger Warning movement is all about enforcing a conformity of thought by forcing faculty and others to identify and warn about politically incorrect ideas.

The way things are going, where actual critical inquiry is forbidden, John Ekdahl may be onto something:


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Midwest Rhino | May 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

Colleges need trigger warning signs at every entrance:

“Abandon all hope of free speech
Ye who enter here”


“College entrance may trigger anger at the fascist PC religion,
for all not already subdued in high school”

So, pay lots of money, get into debt while studying a useless major in a hostile environment! Yeah, that’s going to increase the student admissions. Do these clowns try hard to be this stupid or does it come naturally?


Are these colleges with hyperventilating flowers who “need” trigger warnings the same ones that hold sex week events?

This is not about protecting anyone, but about some people wanting excuses to bring attention to themselves and their pet issues.

This strikes me as rather perverse given the current insistence in K-12 that whatever is useful in sculpting and shaping a worldview amenable to transformative change must be allowed, whatever the parental outcry or student discomfort. In fact, there is an intentional push to create psychological stress so that the student will hopefully reexamine how they perceive things and reorganize their view of how the world ought to be structured.

Having created this so-called Growth Mindset intentionally over time through what is actually called a Learning Progression, the student is to show up in college where the profs must merely reenforce that Mindset? Not challenge it at all unless somehow a ‘rugged individualist’ or Conservative Christian makes it through the admissions process. Then their mindset will have a gigantic bullseye on it as it is seen as unacceptable and fair game for intervention with no warning at all.

I read this week that the Lumina Diploma Qualifications Profile, already an exercise in social engineering, is to have a version 2.0. Certain mindsets must be preserved against any upset at college and others must be annihilated to be eligible for a degree.

Perhaps someone with experience in administration at Moscow U in the 70s can be brought over as a consultant to ensure that ideological conformity is pursued in the light of experience with unacceptable views.

LukeHandCool | May 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I recommend increasing student fees for the purchase of Victorian fainting sofas for every classroom.

Spiny Norman | May 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm

“Trigger warnings, they say, suggest a certain fragility of mind that higher learning is meant to challenge, not embrace.”

The Ethnic and Gender Studies departments (aka the “Clown Quarter”) have been enthusiastically embracing it for 40 years or more. Now they want the entire campus to indulge in their intellectual masturbation.

Oh. Oh. I know!

Given my particular sensabilities, I hearby demand trigger warnings on any “university approved” communication which discusses any topic of the following natures:

1.) Abortion
2.) Islam or Muslim Religion
3.) Sex Education of any nature (regardless of gender or school requirement).
4.) Terrorism
5.) “Palestinians” (or any topic critical of Israeli sovereignty.
6.) Health Care (Obamacare has scarred me so badly that I might just drop to a pile of quivering goo).

Lets see how fast they start screaming about how “that’s not the way its supposed to work.” Remember Rules for Radicals Rule #4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”


Amazing that with all this education and warnings about the Brave New World, we still let it happen.

“Trigger” my a$$. When I went to college, we had a real, live, large male walking around with shorts cut so short his balls were fully visible, especially when he sat down. That was the whole point of his shorts, of course. And, I had a ringside seat to several conversations where the guys would talk bad about the girls’ reactions. It seemed that nobody could react “right:” not by staring, not by disapproving, not by ignoring the show.

I gave both him and his close friends a wide berth, because I judged them all to be jerks. I have never been able to muster much patience with jerks.

This sculpture is not intimidating. The guy is wearing tightie-whities, for crying out loud. That form of underwear completely undercuts the intimidation factor. Anybody claiming to be intimidated by a sculpture of a guy who is covered up to this extent is lying, unless he is a Muslim, and then we know he’s crazy.

My only trigger warning would be “There are NO TRIGGER WARNINGS HERE”.

This way be triggers…

Jeez, I always thought this was a trigger warning. Don’t jerk it, squeeze it like your girlfriends breast. Doesn’t anyone wear big boy panties anymore?

And I thought this was a “Trigger Free Zone! I need my blankie and my thumb.

Don’t students pay for movies that scare them almost to death?

Somebody is using a horse’s name in vain!

Let’s see what I’d need….

Let’s have trigger warnings for all material that insults men, whites, heterosexuals, or traditional religion, claims there is something wrong with executing “sodomists” or adulterers, has the standard academic view on the Bible, ancient history, and prehistory, religious pictures or texts other than my own, pictures of the opposite sex, insults the founding fathers, pushes the green agenda, says nice things about any Communist, implies that Marx or Freud had any points at all, uses the word “Palestine”, praises Bill Clinton, anything sexual of course, hey this is fun…..

Now there are schools where this needs to be done. There are, for example, colleges entirely populated by Orthodox Jews (generally women) and my religion is pretty strict about some of this stuff. But that’s the point, isn’t it? We have a State Religion, and we need warnings about Blasphemy.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to mzk. | May 19, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I’m going back to college in September, and if they’re playing the trigger warnings game, I plan to have a nervous breakdown any time anybody mentions any of your triggers because, and this is my excuse, I feel so oppressed by their insults. They want to play? Let’s rock.

I have, in fact, requested exemption from certain courses for religious reasons. (In Yeshiva University, no less!) But I understand myself to be in the minority, and I expect it to be my responsibility to make these requests.

So, again, the issue is that some material is Blasphemy against the State Religion, and we need warnings. You don’t really think they’ll put warnings on Feminist Studies courses, do you? (Remember, the issue has only one side.)Then again, they just might, preferably in a condescending manner.