Doing their best to invite a new dark age, student and faculty groups at institutions of higher learning throughout the nation have started labeling certain academic materials with “trigger warnings” which enable students to opt out of exposure. A few institutions have responded by standing up for free speech. The latest is American University in Washington D.C., where the faculty senate has passed a resolution starkly opposed to trigger warnings. They wrote:
As laws and individual sensitivities may seek to restrict, label, warn, or exclude specific content, the academy must stand firm as a place that is open to diverse ideas and free expression. These are standards and principles that American University will not compromise…
…the Faculty Senate affirms that shielding students from controversial material will deter them from becoming critical thinkers and responsible citizens. Helping them learn to process and evaluate such material fulfills one of the most important responsibilities of higher education.
It’s refreshing to see a few in the academic community who remain hesitant to cancel the Enlightenment.