UCSB’s Student Senate Approves Trigger Warning

Right now, UCSB is at the center of a flurry of media attention that is depicting today’s college students as oversensitive, overly politically correct and even ‘trigger-happy’ with modern-day censorship in the very place it never should happen — academia. A few weeks ago, the Associated Students Senate passed a resolution directing student representatives to meet with administrators to develop a way for professors to create “trigger warnings” for material that could potentially spark symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in students, with such material including “Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, Self-Injurious Behavior, Suicide, Graphic Violence, Pornography, Kidnapping, and Graphic Depictions of Gore.” In response, major outlets such as NPR and the Los Angeles Times have reported on the resolution, with a fair number of them printing op-eds that condemn the bill and express criticism of what’s seen as an oversensitivity in what one outlet called “the wimpy generation.”

As it is written, the A.S. resolution has no immediate, concrete implications. Contrary to what’s been reported by outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, the resolution has not resulted in any action by the UCSB administration and no policy changes have been made. Nevertheless, what has happened is there are students on this campus — specifically student government representatives — who believe that there is an issue with students who are victims of PTSD experiencing “severe emotional, mental, and even physical distress” from professors showing material that elicits such reactions, all while not giving any warning that this material can have such effects. But are professors really obligated to give such warnings? According to Lisa Hajjar, president of Santa Barbara’s ACLU Chapter and a UCSB sociology professor, the answer is not really. Hajjar said the resolution could mark an infringement of academic freedom by potentially dictating what an instructor can and cannot teach… Read more from The Daily Nexus.

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