Campus Free Speech

Trigger Warning: At Oxford, Squeamish Law Students Can Avoid Classes About Violence and Sex

Because we wouldn't want lawyers to understand the intricacies of controversial legal subjects.

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Oxford
Dreamstime

Oxford University has joined American law schools in discouraging the teaching of uncomfortable subjects—such as laws relating to sexual violence. The university evidently sees no problem with humoring the emotional fragilities of its would-be lawyers and judges—rather than force them to confront what they fear, it would rather let them remain uneducated.

I previously reported on the testimony of Jeannie Suk, a Harvard University law professor who reports that teaching rape law has become an impossible task for many professors. Squeamish students—some of them victims of sexual assault—veto discussions of subjects that offend them. One professor, according to Suk, was asked by a student to stop using the word violate—as in "Does this conduct violate the law?"—because it was reminiscent of violence. Faced with such a minefield of potential triggers, many professors feel they have no choice but to skip over challenging subjects.

A similar climate is overtaking Oxford, according to The Daily Mail:

They are destined to be barristers and judges – but undergraduates studying law at Oxford are being told before lectures on cases involving violence or death that they can leave if they fear the content will be too 'distressing'.

The revelation marks the arrival from the US of 'trigger warnings' – the politically correct notion that students should be warned before they encounter material that could elicit a traumatic response.

Lecturers have been asked by the director of undergraduate studies for law to 'bear in mind' using trigger warnings when they give lectures containing 'potentially distressing' content.

One law student explained: 'Before the lectures on sexual offences – which included issues such as rape and sexual assault – we were warned that the content could be distressing, and were then given the opportunity to leave if we needed to.'

Warning students that they are about to encounter difficult material is one thing. Exempting them from studying it entirely is quite another. A university education should in some sense, require students to grapple with touchy subjects. And  it's obviously the case that law students who were accommodated every time a professor provoked them will be unprepared for law in the real world. Judges, attorneys, and prosecutors involved in sexual assault cases won't have the option of leaving the courtroom to protect themselves from exposure to potential triggers. 

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  1. So, always make sure my legal representative has a degree no more recent than 2015, got it.

    1. Eh, kinda depends on the case. I don’t see somebody who specializes in bankruptcy to need to know about sexual assault law.

      1. Not sure how/if bankruptcy works in the UK. But there’s no guarantee that the alleged lawyer couldn’t have found something triggering in even that case law – poor people not able to erase all debt, etc.

        And even someone who specializes in business law (etc) should have the basics of the legal system down.

        1. I used to work for a BK attorney. From my experience, BK is the most triggering of all. But hey, we all need boats*

          I swear, maybe because I’m on the coast but about 80% of the cases went like this: 1) buy a house you can barely afford, 2) buy a car you probably can’t afford 3) buy a boat you definitely can’t afford 4) 2nd mortgage 5) new credit card to pay off other credit cards 6) repeat step 5 7) get sick 8) default on everything 9) file Ch 13, blame “healthcare in this country, 10) get kicked out of Ch 13 and moved into Ch 7.

        2. I used to work for a BK attorney. From my experience, BK is the most triggering of all. But hey, we all need boats*

          I swear, maybe because I’m on the coast but about 80% of the cases went like this: 1) buy a house you can barely afford, 2) buy a car you probably can’t afford 3) buy a boat you definitely can’t afford 4) 2nd mortgage 5) new credit card to pay off other credit cards 6) repeat step 5 7) get sick 8) default on everything 9) file Ch 13, blame “healthcare in this country, 10) get kicked out of Ch 13 and moved into Ch 7.

  2. This is NOT OK.

  3. http://espn.go.com/college-foo…..ating-1971

    Speaking of rape, it appears that Penn State and Joe Paterno knew about rape allegations against Jerry Sandusky going back to 1971. People accused Sandusky of rape for nearly 40 years and neither Penn State nor Joe Paterno so much as looked into it much less did anything about it.

    Words really do fail.

    1. Disgusting.

      1. The dark rumors have always been that Sandusky provided young boys to big donors and that is why Penn State kept him around. I have always thought that was impossible. After reading this, I am not so sure.

        1. Does anyone else remember when this was all going down, and just about over (I think most of the trial was done, don’t remember if the verdict was in) and someone said that there was a HUGE pedo ring in PA going all the way up the chain to Harrisburg? In about a week’s time it went to exposure, to “we hope it’s not true”, to partial legitimacy, to the FBI was going to look into it, to complete shutdown, cauterization, and down the memory hole? I can’t find ANYTHING about it anywhere on the internet. It looked like either something big was going to blow up or someone was going to go down HARD as a major liar. But it all just disappeared. All I could think is it was true and A LOT of highly powerful men just “star chambered” the whole thing out of existence. I’ve not seen anything like it before or since in the internet age.

          It should be kept in mind that this accusation was OUTSIDE of the Penn State issue proper, but one can only imagine that for Sandusky to continue to do as he did for decades, unhindered if not sheltered, could only have existed in a wider arena of acceptance.

          1. Yes. I do remember that. And frankly, I have a hard time coming up with an explanation for this other than that being the case.

            Football coaches are a dime a dozen. And even in the 1970s, this kind of crap was not tolerated. You tell me why they kept him after so many allegations. One allegation and maybe you give him the benefit of the doubt. But several over nearly four decades? That makes no sense to me.

        2. Damn. I’m not sure there is anything new that could come out that I would disbelieve for even a moment. Just evil.

    2. One wonders why Sandusky was such protected property for all those years.

    3. Be careful, John!

      Pointing out that Penn State’s officers throw ethics out the window when choosing whether to risk bad press or to sweep things into the closet can get you embroiled in a decade long libel suit.

    4. Don’t jump to conclusions just yet.

      1. Yeah, this is not that cut and dry.

  4. Ich. I wish these people would apply their filter to their own actions. This is TERRIBLE for rape victims, overall. Might be nice for a rape victim who wants to be a lawyer… but for the MAJORITY of rape victims who have no legal career goals??

    “SJWs insist that rape victims do not deserve lawyers who have been educated on the law when it comes to crime.”

    Maybe take your own advice, SJWs, and put the victims /first/. The victims as a whole, not this subset of victims who want to be lawyers. Rape victims should have lawyers CAPABLE OF DEALING WITH THE CRIME OF RAPE, and it’s really absurd that this needs to be explained to people who claim to care about the victim.

    1. They are a bunch of narcissistic little shits. Narcissistic little shits who will no doubt seek bureaucratic and political power over everyone else.

    2. I can go either way on this. If you want to be an corporate lawyer, why do you need to know about violent crimes like this? On the other hand, we do usually expect everyone in a given profession to have a basic understanding of every aspect of their profession and detailed knowledge of only their focus area.

      1. I’ll add that the person who doesn’t want the professor to use the word “violate” probably wanders the campus like a whirling dervish, all knees and elbows and looking for cake.

        1. If said person actually exists.

          1. Given what’s been happening on campuses lately, do you really doubt it? I think you’d be hard pressed to successfully parody these people because wherever you try go with it, they will already be there.

            1. Given what’s been happening on campuses lately, do you really doubt it?

              Yes. Contra Robby’s claim that:

              I previously reported on the testimony of Jeannie Suk, a Harvard University law professor who reports that teaching rape law has become an impossible task for many professors.

              , if one actually reads the original article, one sees that Suk only speaks of her own perception

              1. Given what’s been happening on campuses lately, do you really doubt it?

                Yes. Contra Robby’s claim that:

                I previously reported on the testimony of Jeannie Suk, a Harvard University law professor who reports that teaching rape law has become an impossible task for many professors.

                , if one actually reads the original article, one sees that Suk only speaks of her own perception

                1. Given what’s been happening on campuses lately, do you really doubt it?

                  Yes. Contra Robby’s claim that:

                  I previously reported on the testimony of Jeannie Suk, a Harvard University law professor who reports that teaching rape law has become an impossible task for many professors.

                  , if one actually reads the original article, one sees that Suk only speaks of her own perception and experiences and nowhere in the original article is there ever evidence that would suggest generalizability. The only other person mentioned is the unnamed source of Suk’s anecdote. Likewise, the Daily Mail (source of such hard-hitting journalism as “Baywatch’s new blonde bombshell recruit Charlotte McKinney patrols the beach in tiny bikini” and “Underage ‘escorts’, sex tourism and terrorism: The extraordinary story of the paedophile who had sex with a 13-year-old Russian orphan… but who friends claim was SET UP by Vladimir Putin”) story never provides any hard evidence to back up the claims of “[o]ne law student”. Instead two professors are quoted without context. “Last night, Prof Hoyano said…” Last night where? Speaking to whom?

                  This is merely the Rainbow Parties of the 2010s. It goes unexamined because it aligns with the preferred narrative, but God help Robby if he had mentioned the race of one of these professors for some reason.

      2. On the other hand, we do usually expect everyone in a given profession to have a basic understanding of every aspect of their profession and detailed knowledge of only their focus area.

        ^This. That’s why your pharmacist and optometrist still have to do the occasional hospital rotation and keep their skills up. If there’s ever an epidemic or mass disaster those people will be giving stitches, setting bones, etc.

        1. That’s why your pharmacist and optometrist still have to do the occasional hospital rotation

          Did not realize that, but it makes sense. But if we end up having a real rape epidemic or natural rape disaster, I think a lack of competent lawyers will be one of our least concerns.

        2. No, actually they don’t need to do that. Medical professionals of virtually all stripes go to continuing education conferences, not ‘rotations at a hospital’. Not even M.D.s need to do rotations to keep their license.

    3. Well who needs lawyers when these cases can be adjudicated by bureaucrats in kangaroo courts where the defendant is presumed guilty, denied access to evidence, and is unable to confront their accuser. – Title IX under Obama’s DOJ.

  5. I watched the ESPN doc on the Duke rape case this weekend. While looking for another story about the case, I stumbled onto this piece in Slate about the documentary.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_….._case.html

    It is horrifying and its author one of the worst human beings in print. The money quote is

    Even so, it’s a bizarre experience to watch a documentary that expects the viewer to root for a bunch of accused rapists.

    I will just leave that there for people to mull over.

    1. Even so, it’s a bizarre experience to watch a documentary that expects the viewer to root for a bunch of accused rapists white frat boys.

      What the author really wanted to say

      1. Pretty much. The entire quote is just insane. How could a college educated adult be that irrational, stupid and hateful?

        1. Reading that article was a bizarre experience since it was written by a possible rapist.

          Disclaimer: I can neither confirm nor deny that Christina Cauterucci, of Slate, is a rapist.

    2. “Even so, it’s a bizarre experience to watch a documentary that expects the viewer to root for a bunch of accused rapists.”

      I know, right?

    3. Maybe she didn’t make it to the ending.

    4. “Today, someone need only say the word “Duke” in a discussion about sexual violence and for all listening it invokes the specter of a false accuser who cries rape and ruins the lives of innocent men. The case is mentioned during sexual assault trials by defense attorneys whenever they can manage to work it in; a mere mention of “Duke Lacrosse,” even if ultimately objected and sustained, plants a seed of doubt in the jury’s mind about the victim’s credibility.”

      I hate this argument. It’s really deplorable. Basically, when young men almost have their lives ruined, the main victims are theoretical women who we can’t even be sure exist.

      1. Its true but the problem isn’t the defendants. The problem was the accuser, the prosecutor and the media.

        1. The villian that started the whole ball rolling was rogue prosecutor Mike Nifong.

          The initial investigation of the alleged rape incident concluded nothing had happened.

          Nifong dismissed that conclusion because he aimed to ride on the coattails of a successful prosecution to reelection.

    5. Which is weird, since they’re ostensibly pulling for Slick Willy this year and he went with Epstein to pedophile island to have sex with children. So in a way thy know EXACTLY what it’s Ike to root for a rapist.

      1. Juanita Broderick is a pretty credible witness. She has never changed her story and never wavered in her claims despite ample reason to do so. She also has no reason to lie. But somehow the “always believe the woman” crowd are silent on the issue.

        1. That anyone takes the feminist establishment serious after they sold their souls to protect Bill Clinton in the 1990s just amazes me.

      2. “they’re ostensibly pulling for Slick Willy this year”

        masturbation references. topical.

    6. This is the key section right here:

      “But the underdogs who eke out a well-deserved win in this sports flick are actually a bunch of wealthy white guys who ended up with multimillion-dollar settlements from Duke and jobs in investment banking. The lacrosse team did have that party with those dancers, whom they paid with the money the school gave them to subsidize their meals during their on-campus spring break. Players did use racial slurs to describe Mangum and her fellow dancer. One did write an email less than an hour after the alleged attack that said, at the next party with strippers, “I plan on killing the bitches as soon as the[y] walk in and proceding to cut their skin off while cumming in my duke issue spandex.” Nifong and his enablers did the three indicted players a grave injustice, but it’s hard to muster a full 90 minutes of righteous anger on their behalf.”

      See, they were kinda assholes anyway, so facing decades in prison for something they didn’t do is no big deal.

      1. Its the same way of thinking that said it was okay to convict Captain Dryfus even though he was innocent.

        1. The player who wrote the email was not one of the three charged with rape, so that detail is completely irrelevant, and I believe the same is true with the racial slur.

          Also, they don’t have all jobs in investment banking. Reade Seligmann is an attorney who does a lot of pro-bono work for the Innocence Project.

          1. Correct, the individual who used the racial slurs was the accuser Crystal Mangum, now serving time in prison for murdering her boyfriend.

          2. And that e-mail was a quote from American Psycho, so pretty obvious it was a joke, not his desires.

    7. Read this book on that case:

      https://www.amazon.com/Until-Proven-Innocent

      It really is a thorough examination and study of how a rogue prosecutor (Mike Nifong), the media, the legal system and assorted Duke “academics” tried their best to ruin three young lives.

      Lawyers are often portrayed as villians but the attorneys that represented the accused are the true heroes here.

      A great and frightening read.

    8. The author tries to make the case that the players were contemptible because, among other things, they paid for the party using money the university had given them for meals. Right, because money is not fungible. She also provides a text from one of the players about his plans to kill the strippers. She neglected to mention that he was quoting from American Psycho.

  6. So question. Can you request the prosecuting attorney’s college transcript to use on an appeal?

  7. “Warning students that they are about to encounter difficult material is one thing.”

    Those warnings used to be called “acceptance letters.”

    As in, “OMG, I got accepted to Oxford, I sure hope I can handle all that difficult material!”

    Nowadays, who knows?

  8. Higher education for women turned out to be a failure. Women’s colleges seem like the only reasonable accommodation for the women bright enough to be a school teacher or some such.

  9. “OK, kids, now we’re going to read ‘Lucrece goes to a tea party,’ an expurgated version of a poem by Shakespeare.”

  10. One law student explained: ‘Before the lectures on sexual offences ? which included issues such as rape and sexual assault ? we were warned that the content could be distressing, and were then given the opportunity to leave if we needed to.’

    And then decremented when/if they didn’t know the material and failed to answer correctly/sufficiently come exam-time.

    Compromise!

  11. Basically, law students can’t bear the idea of someone accused of rape being given due process and a fair trial. No one from Oxford should be allowed to practice law.

  12. So,they can skip the classes on mass rapes of teenage girls and the wholesale overlooking of it by the government?

    Or will they let them focus on their energies on defending the animals that did that shit? Or better yet, just let them impose sharia and be done with it. They won’t even need laws then.

    1. Sharia is a legal system, just not the kind these snowflakes would like to live under, once they get past the initial multucultural excitement.

      1. Progressive mongoloids look at Sharia as a more legit legal system than what exists in Texas. It’s the only explanation for their silence when one points out the barbarism carried out wholesale against women in the Middle East but their apoplexy when a woman in Texas might have to drive a few more miles to get an abortion at a clinic with admitting privileges at a local hospital.

        1. Muslims are a minority in the West; therefore it doesn’t matter what they do anywhere in the world — they’re still an oppressed minority.

          (It’s nuts, but that does seem to be the thinking.)

  13. Look, when you get down to it, what happens if you disregard a statute or a court order? People with guns come to lock you up. If you resist, you risk death.

    So off hand, I can’t think off hand of any part of the law which isn’t potentially too violent for the squeamish.

    1. Nice to see you getting your an-cap on, Eddie.

      1. What? I’m just describing the legal process.

        In some cases, using men with guns is justifiable – it’s just that there should be no illusions about what one is doing.

        1. I agree with you. There should be no illusions.

          1. Siegfried and Roy hardest hit.

          2. I don’t know; sometimes illusions can be useful.

        2. I don’t know about you but I’m trying to help the world by letting people know they shouldn’t smoke, consume sugary drinks, go without condoms on porn sets, etc… by using the police and prisons to remind them of their mistakes.

          1. If you’re going to pollute my air with second hand smoke, I don’t see why shooting you isn’t a legitimate use of force

            1. Second-hand? My God man, I’d flay you alive for third-hand smoke.

            2. #ICan’tBreathe

              1. -1 loosie

          2. Exactly!

            Anything is ‘justifiable.’

    2. And what your risk happening to you in prison isn’t for the squeamish, either.

      1. The beginning of a country music career?

        1. OK, I did *not* see that joke coming, good one.

  14. Are you single tonight? A lot of beautiful girls waiting for you to http://goo.gl/pI9ucn
    The best adult dating site!

    1. They’re not going to trigger me, are they?

      Like when “Jennie” turned out to be “James”?

    2. Oh BABY!

      1. You can’t spell Karinka without kink.

  15. Do their law licenses come with asterisks? It would be nice to know which to avoid when hiring an attorney.

  16. Unless the subject matter is being dropped from tests, then no one is being “exempt from studying it”. And if that’s what is happening, then the article quoted the wrong bit.

  17. I’m glad colleges on both sides of the ocean are preparing graduates for a pleasant, gray, soft and padded workforce reality that doesn’t exist yet.

    1. That’s why they go into the real world, freak out, can’t handle it, then demand someone else pays for their student loans that they can’t pay off since they have no skills

  18. Shutter the colleges, they’re a waste of resources.

  19. Trigger Warning: At Oxford, Squeamish Law Students Can Avoid Classes About Violence and Sex
    Because we wouldn’t want lawyers to understand the intricacies of controversial legal subjects.

    I don’t see the problem with this one. The only trained professionals that really need to understand the intricacies of sexual assault laws are university administrators and women’s studies professors. Case closed.

  20. Please stop explaining how this geometry violates relativity.

    I am going to exempt my way to PhD in theoretical physics. It will be fucking great. My thesis will he about racism and rape culture vis a vis black holes.

    1. Just stay away from quantum gender dynamics, that’s my schtick.

      1. You collapse gender’s wavefunction by measuring it! I measured as a woman today. Tomorrow, who knows?

        1. I measured as a woman today.

          Ah, Thomas Young’s lesser known single-slit experiment!

  21. Sorry to go full Four Yorkshiremen, but how did we survive mandatory first-year classes on which we had to read appellate cases full of gruesome details of sexual assault?

    1. There is one case I remember from criminal law that involved a guy who stabbed a woman 60 times but had his conviction for 1st degree murder overturned because the state never established he intended to kill her.

      1. a guy who stabbed a woman 60 times but had his conviction for 1st degree murder overturned because the state never established he intended to kill her.

        The law, sir, is truly not *an* ass, but eight asses, joined together in a way that would make Dr Mephisto cry with joy at their beauty.

  22. Judges, attorneys, and prosecutors involved in sexual assault cases won’t have the option of leaving the courtroom to protect themselves from exposure to potential triggers.

    But will they have the option of imposing contempt of court citations on defendants and/or witnesses who do use such triggers?

  23. Trigger Warning: At Oxford, Squeamish Law Students Can Avoid Classes About Violence and Sex

    Ask me again why my ancestors left England.
    Talk about turning into a country of pussies!
    But, be that as it may, these students who are so squeamish to avoid classes regarding violence and sex are missing out on the best courses.
    It’s their loss.
    Dumb asses!

  24. Squeamish students?some of them claiming to be victims of sexual assault

    FTFY. It’s possible that some students saw an opportunity to get out of class work and took it. Actually I’m hoping that’s the case. The alternative – that they really are such fragile, delicate snowflakes – is far worse.

  25. lol, jsut what we need, more overpaid lawyers.

    http://www.Complete-Privacy.tk

  26. The pussies who can’t handle these issues are not the only problem. This is part of the problem:

    many professors feel they have no choice but to skip over challenging subjects

    If this is true, then those professors are pussies too. Especially the ones with tenure. When you have that kind of job security, and you don’t say “I’m teaching what needs to be taught, and if you don’t want to learn then GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY CLASSROOM!!” then you are part of the problem.

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