A survey of over 800 professors and teaching assistants at America’s colleges and universities by National Public Radio shows that roughly half say they voluntary use or have used “trigger warnings” — notifications advising students that they may be about to view imagery or hear words which someone, somewhere might find offensive or somehow stressful.
Discussion of such warnings are all the rage on college campuses this fall, in part because social justice warriors persistently and shrilly insist upon them, and in part because a dean at the University of Chicago recently told incoming students that they should transfer immediately if they can’t handle opposing points of view.
NPR presents a trio of three sample “trigger warnings.”
The first one is from University of California, Berkeley graduate teaching assistant Ismail Muhammad:
Muhammad said he became a “trigger-warning” enthusiast because an Asian-American kid got really sad when he showed the movie Jack Nicholson movie “Chinatown” in his taxpayer-funded “Film and Literature of Los Angeles” course last year.
“I saw his face, kind of, turn sour,” Muhammad told NPR. “I could tell he was very uncomfortable and genuinely hurt. To me, it was just a moment where I was like, ‘If I can prevent that kind of pain from happening in the classroom by simply alerting students to that kind of language before it gets sprung on them, why wouldn’t I do that?'”
Muhammad did not indicate how warnings about “pain” prevent pain from occurring.
The second “trigger warning” comes from University of Washington graduate teaching assistant Meredith Loken:
“My experience is that if you give students that space and you give them that information,” the political science teaching assistant told NPR, “they absolutely rise to the occasion.”
A third “trigger warning” comes from Saint Joseph’s University communication studies professor Steven Hammer:
“I haven’t often used these warnings,” Hammer told NPR via email, “but did decide to do so this semester because we will be watching some pretty intense videos. I’m glad I did: I’ve already received emails this semester from two students who wanted to let me know that specific content (sexual violence and war-related violence) is typically quite difficult for them based on their experiences.”
Hammer proudly went on to explain that his warning to students about “strong language” and “gender inequity” somehow made it possible for students to “still participate in class.” (RELATED: Militant Georgetown Feminists Demand ‘SAFE SPACE’ Because Of Scary 5’5″, 130-Lb. Woman)