By: Leah Howard
With the upcoming presidential election and the growing discussion centering around sensitive subjects, trigger warnings have become a much larger topic of discussion. Many, mostly young, adults have a strong consensus in favor on trigger warning usage, but others argue that the excessive coddling of “sensitive” subjects only makes it harder to educate, teach, and empower.
The trigger warning discussion has fanned out across the nation. For example, students at Rutgers college claiming that the classic novel “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, contains scenes that promote gruesome and sexist violence. Dissent has been expressed at other colleges, including Columbia University, where undergraduate students claimed that the offensive nature of Greek mythology in “Ovid’s Metamorphoses,” which contains content of oppression, can “be difficult to read and discuss as a survivor, person of color, or a student from a low-income background.”  Students may even request that all professors put trigger warnings on their syllabi in the event that any of the content contains offensive material.
These are just a few examples of students exercising their freedom of speech against what they claim to be tasteless materials in the curriculum, but there are plenty who disagree with this stance of over sensitization. Many argue that these warnings stifle freedom of speech for professors and students to have a constructive conversation. President Obama recently voiced his opinions on the subject, claiming that using trigger warnings as a crutch can minimize intellectual diversity on college campuses across the nation, and discourage academic discussion between opposing parties.
The debate has spread wider than a black and white piece of paper that advises many to avert their eyes. Some campuses are now offering places for students to go in case they are troubled with discussions or events happening on their campuses. And other colleges have refrained from inviting commencement speakers to campus when his or her opinions do not agree with that of the majority of the student body.
So what is a university to do? That depends, especially as many argue that the trigger warning itself could trigger a response. Ultimately, the decision is up to the university and the administration. Do trigger warnings inhibit creative discussion and discourse, while creating a thin-skinned generation that projects a weak group of people unable to positively talk about difficult subjects? Or, are trigger warnings a way to protect those from the ever widening field of offensive content that could be due to the rise of the discussion of certain hypersensitive topics? You decide.
 Filipovic, Jill. "We've Gone Too Far with 'trigger Warnings'" The Gaurdian. N.p., 5 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.
 Medina, Jennifer. "Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm." The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 May 2014. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.
 Miller, Michael E. "Columbia Students Claim Greek Mythology Needs a Trigger Warning." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 14 May 2015. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.
 Agnes, Karin. "Trigger Warning: Obama Criticizes the Language Police On College Campuses." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 30 Oct. 2015. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.