The Start of Day Care (i.e. College) Means More Trigger Warnings & More Micro-Aggressions

It’s the start of a new year on university campuses, and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., was quick out of the gate with the latest contribution to the pandemic of gender hysteria.

An initiative launched by the university’s Faculty Senate Gender Inclusivity Task Force urged faculty members to politely quiz students and colleagues on how they prefer to be addressed: as he, she, ze, zir or hir.

“When introducing yourself, offer your name and pronoun,” it advised, suggesting they start off lectures with: “I am Professor Jones and I use she/her/hers pronouns. What should I call you?”

It also provided phrases for use when dealing with those choosing gender neutrality, such as, “Ze is a real leader on campus” and, “I loved hirs paper.”


While it obviously takes gender inclusivity seriously, Vanderbilt is nonetheless worried that easily frightened students may feel threatened if people are aware of their preferences. Therefore, it advises: “If a student shares their gender identity with you, do not disclose it to others without their consent, except when required by law.”

Clearly, the infatuation with gender identity has yet to abate on Western campuses. Nor has the outrage that meets any attempt to stem the tide of faddish inanity that has spread so virulently across so many institutions of higher learning, if the University of Chicago is anything to go by.

In a letter to first-year students, UChicago’s dean of students advised that they gird themselves for the possibility they might hear opinions that upset them.

“Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own,” he wrote bravely. “Diversity of opinion and background is a fundamental strength of our community. The members of our community must have the freedom to espouse and explore a wide range of ideas.”

Rather than a sigh of relief, the letter set off a ferocious backlash. A letter signed by 150 faculty members took issue with the dean’s position, declaring it “an affront to the basic principles of liberal education and participatory democracy.”

How the freedom to voice unpopular views could represent an affront to democracy is unclear. Presumably it offends the right to live in a protective bubble, secure against any views but one’s own. The fact that faculty members — whose job presumably involves exposing students to unfamiliar thoughts, views and realities for the sake of learning — would promote a wilful retreat into nescience suggests this blight on academia still has a way to run before it wears itself out.

It makes one wonder what academics view as the reason for education. How does a person develop a rounded understanding of the world as it exists if he or she is to be sheltered from awareness of any views that person doesn’t already hold? How do you learn the world’s 7.4 billion people embody many differences if you’re too afraid to confront anything different?

It is the educational equivalent of parents who so obsessively shield their children from germs that they fail to develop the ability to resist disease. Academics who isolate students from learning are the equal of anti-vaxxers who refuse to inoculate a child against measles, leaving the child more vulnerable to the actual disease.

While much of academia appears oblivious to its own foolishness, at least one government has shown the nerve to point it out for them. British Prime Minister Theresa May denounced the notion of “safe spaces” as “quite extraordinary.”

“We want our universities not just to be places of learning but places where there is open debate,” she told Parliament on Thursday, agreeing with a fellow MP who argued that “a sense of ridiculous entitlement by a minority of students means that their wish not to be offended shuts down debate.”

University is, by definition, a place where different, and sometimes obnoxious, opinions can be aired. It is the very basis of democratic freedom, the clash of ideas that leads to understanding, awareness and — with any luck — to human progress. It is unfortunate that so many campuses continue to embrace a preference for deliberate ignorance. Students need exposure to ideas if they are going to develop the ability to think critically for themselves. Perhaps it’s the professors they need protection from.

National Post

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