Catherine Rampell in The Washington Post comments on the rise in “trigger warnings” as a way of stifling free speech and points to the results of a new survey released by the National Coalition Against Censorship.
“The takeaway? Trigger warning mandates remain rare, but plenty of educators (and presumably students) already feel their chilling effects on speech. Eggshells, it seems, lie everywhere, strewn by conservatives and liberals alike.”
“Fewer than 1 percent of survey respondents said their institutions had adopted policies on trigger warnings, but 7.5 percent said students at their institutions had initiated efforts to require them. Twice as many — 15 percent — reported that students in their own classes had requested trigger warnings. Likewise, 12 percent said their students had complained when they hadn’t been warned about distressing content.”
“While media coverage of campus political correctness crusades typically focuses on racial, ethnic and gender sensitivities, professors are getting pushback from conservative and evangelical students, too.”
Such cases “jibe with other survey data showing that young people are supportive of stifling speech offensive to targets on both the left and right. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 40 percent of millennials believe the government ‘should be able to prevent people from saying . . . statements that are offensive to minority groups.’ A third of millennials also say the government should be able to prevent speech ‘offensive to your religion or beliefs.’”
“At the very least, our institutions of higher learning are increasingly becoming both victims of, and co-conspirators to, youthful illiberalism.”