Trigger warnings are the newest drug trending on college campus and students gotta have a hit. Without it, they’re raving lunatics and they can’t make it through the day. Though the demand for it is through the roof, some are limiting its supply and the addicts are jonesing.
This absurd scenario is actually playing out at American University in Washington D.C. The faculty there did what they should: denied adding mandatory trigger warnings to course syllabi. They stood their ground and the Faculty Senate passed a resolution last fall that stated:
American University is committed to protecting and championing the right to freely communicate ideas—without censorship—and to study material as it is written, produced, or stated, even material that some members of our community may find disturbing or that provokes uncomfortable feelings. This freedom is an integral part of the learning experience and an obligation from which we cannot shrink…
… the Faculty Senate does not endorse offering “trigger warnings” or otherwise labeling controversial material in such a way that students construe it as an option to “opt out” of engaging with texts or concepts, or otherwise not participating in intellectual inquiries.
This measure, of course, was unacceptable to students and they are fighting back with a weapon they haven’t banned: the hashtag. With #LetUsLearn, these social justice snowflakes demand trigger warnings.
The video above features Devontae Torriente, who is the student government president. He disagrees with the faculty standing for academic freedom and argues that he prefers censorship to help alleviate “student trauma:”
“The fact of the matter is, trigger warnings are necessary in order to make our academic spaces accessible to all students, especially those who have experienced trauma.”
In Torriente’s view, academic freedom is only possible when students are warned beforehand that they may come across an idea they don’t like:
“Without trigger warnings, students who have endured trauma, such as interpersonal violence or experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, can be excluded from the classroom negatively impacting their mental health and education.”
The next step for these students is meeting with the Faculty Senate to establish a “campus wide definition” of a safe academic space by letting them know it’s all about “us” — the few, the proud, the triggered.