The mythical war on cops

This chart at Reason pretty much says it all:

American Enterprise Institute

Radley Balko says the rest.

The trigger warning reality

Okay, this is why I pay the big bucks to Vox.  Alright, Vox is free, but articles like this that actually place campus trigger warnings in their real context are a great contribution (though, I seem to recall they may have published an article or two that hyped them).  Anyway, as for those trigger warnings taking over Americas’ campuses, here’s the cold, stark, reality:

Only one college, Oberlin College, actually recommended that professors warn students about content that might be disturbing or traumatizing — and they eventually withdrew that policy…

Oberlin College tried to go further. In late 2013, the college created a new policy for dealing with sexual assault and related issues. It recommended faculty “understand triggers, avoid unnecessary triggers, and provide trigger warnings,” and to strongly consider making “triggering” material optional. If faculty chose to continue including triggering material, the policy recommended that they explain why they did so.

The policy created an outcry, including on campus, where professors felt blindsided. Its litany of possibly “triggering” material was mocked as overly politically correct. A few months later, the college tabled the trigger warning policy to be reworked; it hasn’t yet been rewritten.

Libby Nelson’s article has a nice summary of the rise of trigger warnings, but the central points to me is this: on no single university campus are they actually required and they were explicitly rejected as official policy by one of the most liberal colleges in the country.  You’d never know that from all the overblown rhetoric these days.  There’s also what I think is a great example from a syllabus for a film class on how to do this right:

Kelli Marshall, a lecturer at DePaul University who wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae blog about her teaching techniques, added this to her syllabus for a film class about Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino:

Works of Lee and Tarantino contain extreme profanity, nudity, depictions of sex, and hate-speech (i.e., language that may be interpreted as racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or sexist). Their works also include representations, sometimes graphic, of the following: drug use and needles, overdoses, car accidents, insects, vomit, blood, medical procedures, corpses, trauma to a pregnant character, forced captivity, premature burial, torture, gun violence, bullet wounds, physical combat, murder, sexual assault, and rape. … Students who anticipate discomfort while screening these films should research the plot and potential triggers before class, and then sit near an exit so that, when necessary, they may step out of the room for a few minutes. Removing yourself for a moment or two is perfectly fine.

Now, that strikes me as an eminently reasonable.  What we’re not actually seeing, though, are actually widespread adoption of policies that we coddle our students or protect them from uncomfortable topics.

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