It’d be funny if it weren’t so serious. The point is, how does the trigger warning concept help prepare someone for life beyond the gates of the university and into the workplace? Perhaps the workplace is the next target of the criminal PC left…
“…..Following the concerning American trend, trigger warnings have quietly crept into Australian universities in recent years. They have become replete across student publications and organisations, and at the discretion of academics, in lectures. However, for the militant left, their optional adoption is not enough. Trigger warnings will shortly become formalised at one of Australia’s top universities.
According to university committee documents, Monash University will become the first higher education institution in Australia to introduce a formal trigger warnings policy. This comes despite apparent resistance from academics and concerns over censorship. Monash has decreed that, from Semester 1, 2017, unit course guides will include a section on trigger warnings for academics to fill out.
How has a concept that did not exist in the lexicon, let alone on campus, five years ago swiftly achieve formal institutional implementation?
Trigger warnings first appeared in the depths of the internet, on select feminist message boards. They were initially used sparingly, largely to forewarn of graphic descriptions of sexual assault and rape.
However, their recent adoption at universities across the Western world is far more expansive and sinister. They are being used for issues such as racism, homophobia, disability, colonialism, torture, and, at Melbourne’s La Trobe University Student Union, body image, eye contact, food, and insects.
Students have called for trigger warnings on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby due to its ‘gory, abusive and misogynistic violence’, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway because of ‘suicidal inclinations’, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses because of ‘sexual assault’.
Not only are these type of warnings nonsensical—the very purpose of this material is to elicit an emotional response—they are dangerous to the intellectual climate on campus.
If students do not read the material or leave a class because of a trigger they will never be exposed to the ideas. This defeats the entire educational purpose of higher education: to expose young people to a variety of thinking, especially ones they find challenging.
Universities, by encouraging the avoidance of challenging content, are failing to prepare students for life outside of campus. In the real world there are no trigger warnings. We are not told before something offensive is voiced and coddled from emotionally challenging ideas.
In practice these warnings make it far more difficult to discuss sensitive content. Academics have begun self-censoring, avoiding teaching material that could cause discomfort for fear of receiving complaints or negative responses on student feedback. Two professors at the University of Northern Colorado were recently investigated for simply proscribing readings with multiple views on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, climate change, and transgenderism. The academics were reprimanded by students not for expressing a contrary position, but simply for teaching that there is one. In this culture, where academics have to forewarn about challenging ideas and face student backlash, it is much easier to simply not teach them in the first place. University of Melbourne senior lecturer Lauren Rosewarne is a user and proponent of trigger warnings. Nevertheless, she warns students have begun to ‘police’ her language, and arrive in class with their views fully formed, refusing to read, or engage in discussion about, opposing material….”