May 13, 2015

IF YOU NEED TRIGGER WARNINGS AND SAFE SPACES, YOU’RE TOO MENTALLY-ILL FOR COLLEGE. YOU NEED TREATMENT UNTIL YOU’RE WELL ENOUGH TO MIX WITH NORMAL PEOPLE. Classical Mythology Too Triggering for Columbia Students: Roman and Greek mythology “contains triggering and offensive material that marginalizes student identities in the classroom,” students say.

In Columbia University’s student newspaper, four members of the school’s student Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board call on professors to be more sensitive when teaching provocative or controversial material… such as the Roman classical poet Ovid.

Ovid is best known for The Metamorphoses, a 15-book narrative poem that covers more than 250 mythological stories. Written entirely in dactylic hexameter, The Metamorphoses inspired future writers from Dante to Chaucer to Shakespeare. Whether or not it’s something today’s students should spend time on may be up for debate, but I think most people can understand why an instructor teaching it would focus on things like the language and imagery invoked.

Not these Columbia students, however. See, some of the myths Ovid recounts involve sexual violence. Zeus’ daughter Persephone (aka Prosperina), for instance, is kidnapped, raped, and taken as a bride by Hades, king of the underworld. The op-ed writers suggest this ancient Greek and Roman myth is too triggering to be taught in today’s classroom.

Right. Even the Victorians could handle the classics. Cost of attending Columbia University: $63,440.

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