Trigger Warnings

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, we met at Flitch Coffee to consider two controversies in academia: the legality of concealed carry at public universities in Texas, and the continuing controversy over trigger warnings, which got additional attention recently due to a letter published by a dean at the University of Chicago denouncing the practice. In addition to their similar settings, both of these controversial events consider similar issues, including questions of protection, safety, freedom, and access. 

Dr. Steven Friesen, Professor of Religious Studies and active member of Gun-Free UT, joined us and described both the recent history and current state of guns on Texas campuses. In our discussion, we considered the problem of guns on campus, as well as how trigger warnings are defined and mis-defined and how issues of gender, race, and ideas of masculinity and toughness adhere to both these issues (see, for instance, the image below).   

Further Reading:

For a pro-gun response to Cocks not Glocks that gets at the intersections of race, gender, and "political correctness" (or the lack thereof) around these issues: "After Cocks Not Glocks Protest, Pro-Gun Activist Makes Video Depicting Murder of College Student"

For a thoughtful, evidence-based exploration of what triggering really looks like in the classroom"The Trapdoor of Trigger Words: What the science of trauma can tell us about an endless campus debate"

For an in-depth analysis of how the rhetoric of both gun rights and gun control activists stand up to the data (with something for both sides): Science Vs Podcast (Part One: Guns) (Part Two: Gun Control)

While we couldn't find official documentation of this, there is some indication that the Texas GOP has declared permit-less carry ("constitutional carry") as its top legislative priority for 2017. For ideas on how to take action to fight guns on campus, see this article, as well as Gun Free UT and Cocks Not Glocks

Class Reading:
"Why the guns-on-campus debate matters for American higher education" (by Dr. Friesen)
"Texas students can now bring guns to class. "Cocks Not Glocks" is bringing dildos instead" 
John Ellison Welcome Letter and the Faculty Response
On The Media Podcast: Kids These Days (28 min. total; begin at "Free Expression Takes Work" and end at "The Truth About...")

“No student shall, within the precincts of the University, keep or use any spiritous or vinous liquors, keep or use weapons or arms of any kind…” Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, University of Virginia, (1824)

“No student shall, within the precincts of the University, keep or use any spiritous or vinous liquors, keep or use weapons or arms of any kind…” Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, University of Virginia, (1824)