Campus Free Speech

American University Student Government Launches Campaign for Mandatory Trigger Warnings

'Without trigger warnings, students who have endured trauma... can be excluded for the classroom.'


Screenshot via AU Student Government / Youtube

American University Student Government President Devontae Torriente is leading a campaign to persuade the administration to adopt mandatory trigger warnings as an official classroom policy.

According to Torriente, it is trigger warning advocates who are the true defenders of academic freedom—they want to open the classroom up to everyone, including psychologically damaged students.

"The fact of the matter is, trigger warnings are necessary in order to make our academic spaces accessible to all students, especially those who have experience trauma," Torriente said in a video address. "In doing so, we uphold AU's commitment to academic freedom and allow all students to participate in the exchange of ideas and discussion in the classroom."

The absence of trigger warnings causes certain students to feel excluded, he continued.

"Without trigger warnings, students who have endured trauma, such as interpersonal violence, or experience post-traumatic stress disorder, can be excluded for the classroom, negatively impacting their mental health and education."

The campaign is notable for two reasons. For one thing, it puts the student government at significant odds with the faculty, which remains adamantly opposed to mandatory trigger warnings, according to Inside Higher Ed.

For another, it provides yet more evidence that foes of trigger warnings were right to worry that students would try to impose them on campus. Critics of this line of thinking often point to the fact that trigger warnings aren't required practically anywhere. That's true, of course, but the only reason they haven't yet been enshrined is that supporters of academic freedom continue to make the intellectual case against them.

They must continue to do so—a little more forcefully, perhaps—at AU as well.

If professors want to make accommodations for certain students on a special case basis, they are welcome to do so. If they think the content they are teaching is uniquely disturbing, they should feel free to prepare their students. But the exception is not the rule. A policy of pre-warning all students on the basis of their subjective discomfort would be too great a burden on the faculty, and would lead to fewer interesting conversations in class. For examples, read this and this.

Related: Critics of U. Chicago Letter Say Trigger Warnings Aren't Mandatory. Here's Proof They're Wrong.

NEXT: Death Penalty Support Drops Below 50 Percent For First Time Since 1971

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  1. I need a trigger warning for Mr. Torriente’s shirt.

    1. Is that what the picture is? I couldn’t tell from Rico’s lack of alt-text.

    2. Damn, Robby is on a roll today. Get it? Get it?

      1. +1 Rick

  2. The universities have become welfare queens so none of them should be surprised at the kinds of overgrown children that enroll.

    1. The solution, of course, is to give them more money and funnel more unqualified kids into the system. And make it FREE!!!!…um…somehow…

    2. You know, once we used to encourage people to move on and not let tragedy make them a perpetual whining victim, but instead make them stronger by experience and a will determination to persevere.

      Now victimhood is the new heroism, and it’s with you forever because it gets you stuff.

      1. It pisses me off. Losers, all of them. Spreading their loser mentality.

        1. Sad to say, but we are beginning to (re-)learn why a society can develop a victim blaming mentality, perhaps even why it’s necessary in moderation.

  3. Of course people were right to say this was going to become mandatory. There has never been a single instance in history where the Left failed to fulfill every single prophesy made by its critics no matter how outlandish it seemed at the time.

    This is what the Left does.

    1. The left always moves to making things mandatory. It’s the only way to get the majority of the population onboard with their shitty ideas.

      1. And yet, I keep hearing people here say: “There’s no difference between Hillary and Trump.” There are many, but one of them is that with Hillary you get more SJW crap, guaranteed.

        1. Oh, there are many differences between them. The primary similarity is that they will both be terrible, albeit in different ways.

  4. They weren’t worried about triggers on Romper Room.

  5. The #LetUsLearn crowd seems a little confused, if they think that trigger warnings are going to increase access for fragile students.

    A trigger warning is just that: a warning to stay away if you are fragile. The result is likely to be overselection of classes that fragile students won’t go to. How that would increase their access to education, I don’t know.

    Of course, what they really want isn’t warnings that there will be a free exchange of information that fragile students should avoid. They want the free exchange of information shut down, so that there is nothing said in class that isn’t so anodyne that nobody, no matter how mentally ill, could take exception to it.

    1. The point is not to increase access to education. The point is to get enemies of the cause to self identify so they can later be purged. First they require you to give a trigger warning. Then they use the fact that you teach such awful things as the excuse to purge you.

      1. I want to see:
        Trigger Warning: This class contains foolish, liberal, pie-in-the-sky thinking.

    2. Should fragile students even go to college? It seems like an unwise choice.

      1. It’s not just college. We will have to put trigger warnings on placentas:
        “Trigger warning: exiting this womb may result in feelings of coldness and the urge to breathe.”

        1. Antinatalism in a nutshell

      2. Huh? Both the fragile student and the college get more money. Sounds logical, not unwise.

  6. I thought he looked like a potential Central African dictator until I heard his mincing voice. But then he’s trying for Dictator of Speech at American University, which is something I guess.

    1. No kidding. I live in San Francisco and rarely hear anyone who sounds so gay.

  7. We won the War Against Running With Scissors, and this is what it got us.

    A nation of retards.

    1. One of my favorite Far Side cartoons is of the man talking to a sad pair of scissors wearing sneakers:
      “I am sorry, I can’t run with you anymore.”

  8. Trigger warning: Violent imagery, social justice insensitivity, rational thought, man-words, white writer, cisshitlord, commas, words apostrophed for comic effect, English, no simultaneous ASL translation

    The faculty better fight and fight hard against this nonsense. If it is mandatory then there will be an enforcement process. And since there is no possible way to warn against everything that might offend someone, the faculty is going to get F’d in the A.

    1. Trigger warning: Reply to self, mocking tone, A/V violence, ableist language

      Also, learn to center someone in the camera frame, retard.

      1. TRIGGERED

        1. When people say they’re being triggered I just imagine Roy Rogers’ horse fucking them in the ass, then giggle.

    2. If I was a professor, I would post a true trigger warning:

      “TRIGGER WARNING: There will be an open exchange of facts and opinions in this class. If you are concerned that any of your fellow students, or the professor, may make a statement that you find traumatically offensive, you should avoid this class.”

      They are lefties; when they say they want trigger warnings, they are lying. They don’t want trigger warnings. They want the content sterilized. Give them exactly what they ask for, and watch the outrage that you have given them exactly what they ask for.

      1. Today it’s trigger warnings. Tomorrow the trigger warning is proof that the professor should not be employed.

        This will make sure no conservatives get university jobs by subverting the interview process..

    3. Well, certainly the whole concept of faculty having the right to assert control over students or to determine a student’s grades is triggering.

      Seems to me that it’s high time we privatize the whole business.

      1. We demand a PASS/PASS system!

        1. For free. Without any attendance requirements.

          1. Attendance is very triggering.

            1. If it weren’t for the “for free” part, I’d get involved in this scam.

  9. I have a trigger warning: if you can’t function in the real world, stay the fuck out of my class.

  10. Maybe those individuals whose psychological wellbeing is so flimsy as to require content-warnings for daily life should, I dunno, seek therapy?




          1. +1 ANALRAPIST

            1. That’s a combination analyst and therapist, for you Philistines.

              1. ^^^ RACIST!

                /Goliath the Philistine

            2. I’ll take Jap-Anus relations for 600, Alex.

  11. “According to Torriente, it is trigger warning advocates who are the true defenders of academic freedom”

    Up is down! Right is left!

    1. Four legs good, two legs better!

  12. The absence of trigger warnings causes certain students to feel excluded, he continued.

    If I decode this little nugget of doublespeak correctly, those “certain students” feel excluded by the fact that NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THEM OR THEIR MALFUNCTIONS.


    1. In my experience, all cunts are quivering.

      1. Your mom likes it when I put my arrow in her quiver.

  14. How could a species who members have survived and even thrived in truly traumatic times given rise to these snowflakes? Darwin is second guessing his theory right now.

    1. We are seeing the dysgenic effects of modern civilization. This twerp would have died young in the environment of his distant ancestors.

      1. True. Life has gotten very good for most people in this country. It’s also made people dumb.

    2. Because someone catered to one of them once. The correct answer to SJWs is simply, “FUCK OFF!”

    3. You’re assuming they’re sincere, which I doubt. They’re just sociopaths that use other people’s compassion to (i) manipulate them into giving the “victims” more than they’re due and (ii) justify treating their so-called “abusers” (i.e., their victims) with unwarranted viciousness.

    4. Darwin is simply waiting for the obvious to happen. The theory never actually cared about humans Or specific humans.

  15. You’d think Theo Huxtable would have graduated by now.

    1. He would have if not for the trauma of being drugged and raped by his dad.

  16. If you don’t keep the room uncomfortably cold, the special snowflakes might melt. And we can’t have that!

  17. I can’t believe the word “trigger” is allowed, for the two obvious reasons.


    /SoCon Gilmore

    1. They don’t eat enough charbroiled meat, that’s the problem.

  19. Wouldn’t… wouldn’t trigger warnings exclude them from the classroom? It’s supposed to warn them to avoid the material, isn’t it?

    1. Would.

      Oh wait, you’re not…? Never mind.

  20. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,

  21. Trigger Warning:

    This kid is a pussy.

    1. He’s just desperate for some action, and is too short, pudgy and nerdy to compete with his peers.

  22. How about a practical solution? Do not have a syllabus.

    Although my experience has been with community colleges and small private universities (those not in US News & World Report’s top 1,000), I have never prepared a syllabus in connection with any classes I have taught.

    Who wants to be chained to a syllabus?

  23. Be nice to the proto-Elois, won’t you?

  24. I find trigger warnings to be triggering of my deep seated disdain for people who expect to be coddled… Would it be possible to institute a mandatory trigger warning policy for trigger warnings?

    Example >>> Trigger Warning: The Following May Include a Trigger Warning. If Trigger Warnings cause you to have an uncontrollable desire to smack the person who invented trigger warnings in the face or to otherwise lash out at people who support their use, this material may not be appropriate for your consumption.

    1. Too triggering. I think this warning should be called “the warning that shall not be named”.

  25. “Without trigger warnings, students who have endured trauma, such as interpersonal violence, or experience post-traumatic stress disorder, can be excluded for the classroom, negatively impacting their mental health and education.”

    College student can’t speak English good?

    No dude, ‘students who have endured trauma . . . ‘ can *already be excluded* from the classroom. They aren’t, but they can be – just like anyone else can be. Trigger warnings have no effect on this.

    Those students *may choose to exclude themselves*, but they could choose that even with trigger warnings.

    One thing that is not happening though, is ‘students who have endured trauma’ being excluded from classes because of the absence of trigger warnings. These people can still attend class. The school is not going to tell them to kick rocks. They may choose not to – but that’s their choice.

    You may have an argument (though its a shitty one) that including trigger warnings helps these people make better informed decisions when deciding whether or not to skip a class – but they’re not *excluded* by the absence of those warnings. But that’s not what you’re *saying*.

    Fucking languages, how do they work?

    1. I think his wording actually betrays the true intent of trigger warnings which, in his mind along with so many on the left, is to stifle any potentially “triggering” speech, thereby transforming the entire learning environment into one big “safe space”.

      1. Not only that, they expect to be excused from any triggering lectures or assignments. “sorry prof, I can’t write a paper on the 30 years war, too triggering”
        Or dissect a pig.

    2. Those students *may choose to exclude themselves*, but they could choose that even with trigger warnings.

      A true trigger warning is nothing but a warning that a fragile student should exclude themselves.

  26. Fuck off and grow up, pussies!

  27. OK, my distant cousins were the Vanderbilts – “public be damned” and all. I think my grandson needs a trigger warning every time the “robber barons” are about to be discussed.

  28. There is a quote, I seem to recall about these damaged ones.

    Perhaps it was:

    “Suck it up Buttercup. The world doesn’t revolve around you.”

  29. Devontae Torriente cantae kistae my fattae whitetae asstae.

  30. Stories like this make me want to vote for Clinton. This country may be beyond redemption. Might as well burn it to the ground.

  31. Repulsive as his argument is, it is probably consistent with the ADA as applied to mental disabilities. Warnings can easily be characterized as a “reasonable accommodation”, after all.

    The slippery slope got a lot steeper with the ADA.

  32. I’ll give him partial credit for using the proper plural of syllabus.

    1. Please cite your source. Thanks

  33. Some feminists insist that math and physics are patriarchal for insisting that there is a right answer and for not respecting the feminine way of knowing. Every single novel in every English class ever has something someone could be offended by. All of history if full of war and pillage (yes, and rape too). I think a single trigger warning: “Warning: knowledge will make you uncomfortable” should cover it.

  34. 1. Trigger warnings are actually an act of violence, as triggers exist on those evil inanimate objects, guns. Therefore a trigger warning violates the “gun free” campus ethic.
    2. All they are asking for is a brief statement; “This is a college level course. Facts will be discussed, although some facts will be made up solely to support approved political causes. Some of those facts will be so self evident that no left wing weirdo will be able to stay in the same room. Take what actions you deem appropriate.”

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