A ReasonTV video shows the ridiculous level the "Right to Not Be Offended" has reached on today's college campus: students need to be warned before being confronted with content that may trigger a memory of past trauma.
A proposal by University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) junior Bailey Loverin would force professors to issue "trigger warnings" before teaching content that may offend. In the video, Loverin says, "So, a 'trigger warning' warns you about content that you may be facing that could provoke a response based on symptoms of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]."
Loverin recounts watching a film in class of "a very drawn out rape scene." She admits that it did not affect her, but she "recognized the potential for it to be very triggering." Provoked into activism, Loverin authored the resolution and now it is before the faculty legislative body to become a mandate for all professors to issue warnings. She believes adopting this as an official policy is just what UCSB needs.
Loverin defends her stance against those who think "trigger warnings" are unnecessary:
It's really not anyone else's business to tell someone when they are mentally and emotionally ready to deal with things.
The video explains that these warnings gained popularity on feminist and social justice blogs. Also mentioned are movie trigger websites that list specific triggers for each movie. One example is of a Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen movie entitled "It Takes Two" from 1995 that lists "death of a parent, child abuse (child labor - brief scene), foster care."
Loverin explains the difference between being offended by these scenes in movies or the classroom and someone's PTSD triggered by them:
Being uncomfortable, being upset, being even a little bit offended is different than having a panic attack, blacking out, hyperventilating, screaming in a classroom -- feeling like you're under such physical threat, whether it's real or perceived, that you act out violently in front of other people.
To highlight how far the trigger warning argument can be taken, ReasonTV reports that just weeks after the resolution passed the student assembly, a UCSB women's professor who assaulted a pro-life protester, whom she called a "terrorist," argued that the protester's "offensive" sign was "triggering."
Prior to UCSB's potential mandate, Oberlin College and Conservatory listed possible trigger topics in its "Support Resource for Faculty," including racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, and suicide -- a practice that more and more universities will undoubtedly adopt.