Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Mentally fragile and morally feeble"

I'm not sure how any real classroom debate or discussion of any controversial subject could possibly take place in the environment Dennis Hayes, a British education professor, describes here:
I collect examples of therapy culture in universities. ....

Among the hundreds of leaflets I have collected that offer students counselling and emotional support, there is one from a university that offered support for students who might find the content of their courses stressful or depressing. The message was this: if you study sociology, you might find that lots of people are poor; if you are studying nursing, you might discover that lots of people are sick; if you read history, you might read of terrible events. The student-support team that issued this leaflet obviously thinks students are so mentally fragile and morally feeble that they need counselling and support to tackle the content of the subjects they have chosen to study. ....

Apparently, student leaders at the University of California passed a resolution urging officials to institute mandatory trigger warnings on class syllabi. Professors who present ‘content that may trigger the onset of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder’ would be required to ‘issue advance alerts and allow students to skip those classes’. ....

...[T]rigger warnings clearly cover, not only depictions of certain difficult subjects, but even discussion of them. Even the label ‘trigger warning’ has been criticised by some on the basis that it could be an unsettling reminder of guns. ....