FIRE Takes on Campus Speech Codes

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The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) announced its plans to file lawsuits against any university with an inappropriate, unconstitutional speech code, as Robby Soave noted here earlier this week:

"Universities' stubborn refusal to relinquish their speech codes must not be tolerated," said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff during a press conference.

For now, suits have been filed against Ohio University, Iowa State University, Chicago State University, and Citrus College in California. These universities have all trampled students' free speech rights, according to FIRE.

Lukianoff explained that FIRE would not hesitate to expand the suits until all universities abandon their speech codes, which were ruled unconstitutional decades ago but have endured at more than 50 percent of colleges, according to the foundation's research.

In May, Reason TV talked with Lukianoff about another free speech battle emerging on campuses across the country: mandatory "trigger warnings" on material that might trigger memories of past traumas in students. Watch the video below. Original text is beneath.

Orginally published on May 8, 2014.

"It's really not anyone else's business to tell someone when they are mentally and emotionally ready to deal with things," says Bailey Loverin, a University of Santa Barbara (UCSB) junior who authored a resolution to mandate that professors issue "trigger warnings" before presenting material that might trigger memories of past traumas in students.

Feminist and social justice blogs popularized the concept of the trigger warning, with writers encouraging each other to label posts that might trigger flashbacks to sexual assault or domestic abuse. As the popularity, and scope, of the trigger warning idea grew, some bloggers began listing potential triggers, ranging from rape and violence and suicide to snakes and needles and even "small holes."

Oberlin College attracted some media attention when its Office of Equity Concerns posted, and later removed, a trigger warning guide advising professors to avoid triggering topics such as racism, colonialism, and sexism when possible. The memo also suggests introducing discussions of potentially triggering works with language such as this: We are reading this work in spite of the author's racist frameworks because his work was foundational to establishing the field of anthropology, and because I think together we can challenge, deconstruct, and learn from his mistakes.

Loverin says that her trigger warning resolution is much more narrowly tailored to protect sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But she also goes a step further than anyone has at Oberlin by proposing that trigger warnings in the classroom be mandated.

"I don't feel that it's a problem asking for this to be mandated," says Loverin. "You're always going to have someone that's going to argue, 'Why? This is ridiculous. I shouldn't have to do this because I don't feel it. Why should anyone else?'"

Loverin's resolution passed the student-run Academic Senate and now awaits review by the faculty legislative body. Greg Lukianoff, President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), worries that mandated trigger warnings would set a troubling precedent on campus. He points to an incident that occured on the UCBS campus only days after the resolution passed wherein an associate professor of feminist studies stole a sign from pro-life protesters and then pushed one of them away when she tried to take the sign back. The professor's defense?

"What she argued was that the display was triggering," says Lukianoff. "It's a very unforunate part of human nature. If you give us an excuse to shut down speech with which we disagree, we're very quick to see it as an opportunity."

Visit https://reason.com/reasontv for downloadable versions of this video.

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  1. Trigger, please!

    1. ISWYDT

  2. “If you give us an excuse to shut down speech with which we disagree, we’re very quick to see it as an opportunity.”

    Puttin’ it right out there. Masks? We don’t need no stinkin’ masks!

  3. Hey Reason. For the love of David Koch, please limit your reposting of the same shit to twice.

    Thanks
    Warren

    1. Reduce!

      Reuse!

      RECYCLE!

    2. Would you repeat that please?

  4. “It’s really not anyone else’s business to tell someone when they are mentally and emotionally ready to deal with things,”

    I thought that business was called “psychiatry”.

  5. You assholes could have posted a trigger warning of Loverin’s vocal fry and unnecessary rising intonation applied to every phoneme.

    1. Does she know how intellectually featherweight this vocal affectation makes her seem? Of course, when you listen to what she says, you get the full-on retard.

      1. I would rate her level of self-awareness to be equivalent to that of someone in the late stages of Lewy body dementia.

        So, no. Not a clue.

    2. I didn’t watch the video, but your description of it reminds me of this commercial.

  6. Rape is terrible, and Amway has financially raped millions of people: http://www.stoptheamwaytoolscam.wordpress.com

    1. Literally.

  7. Does anyone remember that poster Tulpa?

    Fuck what an asshole that guy was.

    Just reminiscing.

    1. Is he gone?

      1. Tulpa.

        1. I thought he was sock puppets all the way down.

        2. Never heard of him. Was he a libertarian?

          1. Who? Dondero? I think he was.

          2. He styled himself a LAOL if memory serves.

            So no, he was not.

            1. You’re doing it wrong, VA….

              1. Oh I see now. OK.

  8. “It’s really not anyone else’s business to tell someone when they are mentally and emotionally ready to deal with things,”

    Sure, but why the fuck must the rest of the world bend for the frailties of the special snowflakes in question? If you are “mentally and emotionally” unready to take a freaking college course then perhaps you should seek therapy until you are sufficiently empowered that mean words and ideas no longer leave you a trembling mess.

    I dealt with PTSD that was so bad at one point I didn’t leave my house for six months. I wouldn’t let anyone so much as lay eyes on me. You know who’s problem that was?

    Mine.

    But never during that time did I demand that the world change itself to suit me. If I had then I am sure that I would never have recovered. I would never have had anything to strive for, any compelling reason to change or get stronger. There would only be the problem and no solution beyond an impossible mission of total avoidance. I would have remained a prisoner to it forever. This bullshit trigger warning craze disgusts me utterly both for the freedoms it demands be sacrificed to it and the damage it’s doing to the psychiatric field and the patients who are not recovering because of it. As much fun it can be to snark about it these fucks are doing real harm to real people and I hope the lot of them drown in their bathtubs.

    1. +1 set of brass balls

      That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. Congratulations on your victory, DwT.

    2. If you are “mentally and emotionally” unready to take a freaking college course then perhaps you should seek therapy until you are sufficiently empowered that mean words and ideas no longer leave you a trembling mess.

      Well said.

      If small holes set you off, you have *real* problems, and should not be, um, mainstreaming.

    3. Bathtub drowning is a trigger of mine, ever since my mother attempted an eighteenth trimester abortion on me. Check your privilege.

    4. This attitude is rooted in the recent notion that people need to wear their emotional brokeness like a badge of honor, because it somehow makes their character more “profound” and “complex” than less crippled people.

      They’re basically living out a comic-book-nerd fantasy and trying to make their brokeness seem normal rather than people whose emotional development didn’t end in the 5th grade.

      1. Or are they signaling their position in the social hierarchy?

        You could view if as a sort of social rent seeking…

  9. One more observation.

    “It’s really not anyone else’s business to tell someone when they are mentally and emotionally ready to deal with things,” says Bailey Loverin, a University of Santa Barbara (UCSB) junior who authored a resolution to mandate that professors issue “trigger warnings” before presenting material that might trigger memories of past traumas in students.

    It would appear that Loverin (whose name probably deserves a trigger warning, BTW) is making it *her* business to tell someone when they are (not) mentally and emotionally ready to deal with things.

  10. I wonder if Loverin herself will reappear on this thread. She (or someone claiming to be her) came on an old HnR comment section about this issue and argued with the commentariat for quite awhile.

  11. I feel like a good Orthopedic surgeon would tell you not to play basketball until your acl repair was completely healed.

    So, why are you signing up for basketball class Bailey?

    1. you’re powerfully stupid|7.6.14 @ 5:11PM|#
      “I feel like a good Orthopedic surgeon would tell you not to play basketball until your acl repair was completely healed.”

      And if it were my surgery and the doctor who did it, I would listen.
      Did you have a point, or just some silly false equivalence?

  12. All this talk of feelings. What a bunch of horseshit. I could only make it half way through the video.

    I would never make it through university today.

  13. “I don’t feel that it’s a problem asking for this to be mandated,” says Loverin. “You’re always going to have someone that’s going to argue, ‘Why? This is ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to do this because I don’t feel it. Why should anyone else?'”

    That little statement by this crippled sad sack is telling. She can’t fathom anyone having logical objections to this. It’s merely a projection of MUH FEELZ. The notion that emotionally mature adults find ways to not impose their broken state onto society at large reveals the level of Loverin’s solipsism and everyone else who agrees with her.

    Nuke universities today.

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