James Taranto: Parental guidance requested

The student government at The University of California, Santa Barbara, called for professors to warn students about graphic material presented in their classes

Reading can be dangerous, some young people seem to believe.

“Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as ‘trigger warnings,’ explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans,” the New York Times reports.

An excerpt from a draft guide on “trigger warnings” from Oberlin College in Ohio.

The Times notes that the warnings “have their ideological roots in feminist thought.” At first glance this looks like just the latest politically correct excess, but it’s distinct in some ways. For one, the faculty is resisting: “The debate has left many academics fuming, saying that professors should be trusted to use common sense and that being provocative is part of their mandate.”

Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, tells the paper: “Any kind of blanket trigger policy is inimical to academic freedom. . . . The presumption . . . that students should not be forced to deal with something that makes them uncomfortable is absurd or even dangerous.”

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