/ Going too far? disclaimers about topic content in degree

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newishclimber on 06 Jan 2017
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4089302/Bible-students-warned-crucifixion-upsetting-Critics-...

Okay, so I know it's the Daily Mail but they don't seem to be putting a slant on it. The idea is that maybe universities are being too protective of their students. I think the subtext is that so many students in the last couple of years have presented mental health issues (they were probably always there in many students years past but the stigma was greater so students fell under the radar) that to keep 'bums on seats' universities have to be careful not to do anything that could trigger anxiety or depression etc. But do you think universities are going too far? Do you think that by offering these disclaimers that students are going graduate from uni with fewer resilience skills than they entered with? Or do you think it's wise to protect vulnerable students?
EddInaBox on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

They are students, therefore they are liberal lefty snowflakes by definition. What lefty snowflakes need is a bit of good old fashioned national service to set them straight, and it cures cancer as well!

Anybody know the address at the Mail to send my C.V. to?
john arran - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

Looks to me like it's just giving people information so they're better able to make their own choices. It doesn't appear that they're censoring the content at all. So not really anything to be Daily Mailed about - but of course they will anyway!
newishclimber on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to EddInaBox:

Shush you!
Greasy Prusiks on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:
That's ridiculous.

Being able to shut out things that are right in front of you that you don't want to see is a vital skill of any theology student. Keep em in the room, it's good practice.

;)
Post edited at 12:31
Chris the Tall - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

After a long and fairly epic day in the Dolomites, we reached the summit just after sunset and started along the ridge which lead to the descent. Halfway along the ridge was a crucifix that was incredibly graphic and horrific - especially by torchliight - that it scared the life out of us. And that's despite my Catholic upbringing.

Where were the warnings there ?

Mind you, the DM would report it as "Evil Foreign Statues Terrify Plucky Brits"
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abseil on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

> ....Or do you think it's wise to protect vulnerable students?

On balance, yes I think it's wise sometimes to protect vulnerable students. Depending on how vulnerable and in what way. And connected to that, on how far the vulnerability goes, and how any 'protection' is done.

On seeing this thread, and reading the Mail article, my first thought was that universities are concerned about - among other things - the number of student suicides (about which I have no data - it was just my first thought), I could be wrong of course.
Dax H - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

Quite a simple work around for this.
Warn them of possibly upsetting content.
These that can't handle it leave and go in to the next room and watch the end of life of Brian instead.

The other way is to accept that life is not always a bed of rose petals and sometimes there are thorns and teach kids to deal with the thorns rather than wrapping them in cotton wool all the time.
newishclimber on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to abseil:

I think you're right. But my impression is that it's also a financial thing - the universities don't like losing money when students drop out and the drop out rates can be quite high when students don't realise how much work they have to do. So I guess universities are trying to cover their backs.

No one can completely protect vulnerable students because you can never identify truly every single vulnerable student - that depends on the students' history and their willingness to let you know what's going on (one of my students informed me that she had bipolar, for example, while I'm teaching on mood disorders, but she hadn't told any other member of staff), so my impression was that by warning students of the course content, they are including the vulnerable ones who aren't obvious.
newishclimber on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to Dax H:

That would be my opinion too. Good idea.
Dave Kerr - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

If they get upset by that stuff they could just start whistling 'Always look on the Bright Side of Life'
Timmd on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to Dax H:
I did read of one instance where a trigger warning could have been useful, which was for somebody at uni with pretty acute mental health problems to do with suicide (known to the university/friends), who came across something in a lecture related to suicide, and went through some kind of crisis. Which while not affected to the point of being suicidal, it meant that she became erratic for a time, and was sectioned against her will by well meaning people who were concerned she might harm herself, which she felt caused her more distress etc than if they'd just allowed her to get on with things.

I dare say that's a more exceptional instance but it made me think...

Edit: Mary Beard mentioned talking about the Romans during a lecture, which mentioned slaves raping women, and at the end she had a student come up to say she'd been raped, which left her wondering how far one had to go with trigger warnings and protecting students, if there's any conflict between that and what is good about university, in preparing students for adult life and dealing with topics and ideas which can be challenging...
Post edited at 13:20
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newishclimber on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Like the Life of Brian reference
Dave Kerr - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

I always warn pupils if there is something potentially disturbing coming up and I'm struggling to see why anyone would have a problem with that.
wintertree - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

> that to keep 'bums on seats' universities have to be careful not to do anything that could trigger anxiety or depression etc.

In that context, course content is I suspect far less of an issue than the high pressure, high stakes learning, examination and grading environment.

Perhaps we should have a single trigger warning on the UCAS form and be done with it...
Post edited at 13:07
wintertree - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to abseil:

> the number of student suicides (about which I have no data - it was just my first thought), I could be wrong of course.

Someone tried to get data on this a few years ago via FOIA requests. You can see the outcome on whatdotheyknow - largely refusals to answer and claims of information not held.
abseil on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to wintertree:

> Someone tried to get data on this a few years ago via FOIA requests. You can see the outcome on whatdotheyknow - largely refusals to answer and claims of information not held.

Thanks very much for the information.
KevinD - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to EddInaBox:

> What lefty snowflakes need is a bit of good old fashioned national service to set them straight, and it cures cancer as well!

It cured cancer yesterday. Today it causes it. Keep up at the back.
Overall most of those examples dont seem anything special. If they are showing parts of the passion of christ for example I dont think it is unreasonable to mention that it verges on torture porn at times.
Bit odd warning vets and forensic science students though unless it is followed up by a chat saying if you dont find some things they will see pleasant then it might be best to consider a different subject.
1
EddInaBox on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to KevinD:

> It cured cancer yesterday. Today it causes it. Keep up at the back.

That's rubbish, you're obviously an unpatriotic liberal lefty snowflake seeking to undermine the brave men (and women) who serve in the armed forces and uphold our democratic values, you are an ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
1
ceri - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

At vet school we got a warning before watching the humane slaughter of cattle video. I guess even though it's something that all vets need to learn to do, most of the class don't remember foot and mouth and were pretty shocked by the video showing hundreds of animals slaughtered in their fields.
KevinD - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to EddInaBox:

> That's rubbish

I cant believe you said something so hurtful without warning me first. I am reporting you to my local sjw chapter and then you will be sorry.


EddInaBox on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to EddInaBox:

Whoever down-voted me, when I already had a majority of three likes, you are a traitor to democracy and an ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
1
EddInaBox on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to KevinD:

You can't, I've just had them all arrested because they're paedophiles.
dread-i - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to wintertree:

>In that context, course content is I suspect far less of an issue than the high pressure, high stakes learning, examination and grading environment.

>Perhaps we should have a single trigger warning on the UCAS form and be done with it..

"You'll be in debt for the rest of your life. And if you screw up and have to retake a year, you'll be in more debt. And if you don't get the grade you expected, then you will be considered an expensive failure. But it's OK, as you'll probably get a low paid job in an unrelated field, until automation or immigration takes away that dull glimmer of hope. So, no pressure. "
KevinD - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to EddInaBox:

> You can't, I've just had them all arrested because they're paedophiles.

We all know the cops are too busy chasing innocent motorists whose only offence is to break the law than go after the real criminals.
spenser - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

Trigger warnings have got a bit far but they do have a place when it comes to things like child abuse and rape given the potential to cause traumatic responses in people dealing with PTSD.
Big Ger - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

> According to university documents, a lecture on Jesus and cinema sometimes ‘contains graphic scenes of the crucifixion, and this is flagged up to students beforehand’.

Seeing as the crucifixion is the central tenet of the Christian faith, and the suffering of Christ on the cross is our salvation, wouldn't/shouldn't theology students be pretty much aware it's not going to be a Teddy bear's picnic shown?
marsbar - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:

Slow news day by the sound of it.
The New NickB - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

I'd just tell them not to worry, it's all made up!
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Big Ger - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

> I'd just tell them not to worry, it's all made up!

Now, now, Nick, that's very unfair, if they believe it to be true, then for them it's true.

If they want to believe that a supreme being, one who created heaven and earth, is only capable of forgiving sins, (sins which have not yet been committed,) is by sending himself down to earth as human so that we can kill him, then who are we to argue with that logic?

;-)
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marsbar - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

I'm not sure it all made up, it seems likely that a chap called Jesus did exist and was crucified. It does seem however that maybe he was not the son of God, and was in fact a very naughty boy.
The New NickB - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to marsbar:

I'm sure they did in quite a few Yeshua's it was quite a common name.
davidbeynon on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I know what you mean. I was on holiday on some scottish islands a while ago and found that the locals had built an enormous wicker man for me at the top of the cliffs. I was quite upset.
Cú Chullain - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to spenser:

I would agree with this. However it would seem the trend on US campuses (and unfortunately being exported here) is to use 'trigger warnings' as a catch all phrase to shut down debate on any opinion you happen disagree with, in short creating your own echo chamber. The fact that universities should be the last bastion of free speech, diverse thoughts and open debate seems to have escaped these morons. Quite how half these people expect to survive 'out there' in the real world after graduation is beyond me.
spenser - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to Cú Chullain:
I found this to be quite an interesting article on the subject:
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/
marsbar - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to spenser:

That is interesting.

I have taught some potentially quite upsetting content recently to secondary students. As part of keeping children safe on the internet we do end up talking about what could happen and some of the cases are quite horrific. Kayleigh Hopkins for example was raped and murdered as she tried to run away. My approach is to mention just briefly at the beginning that what we are learning about today isn't nice, it might upset you, but it is very very important, we don't want to scare you, but we do want to keep you safe and you are old enough to know the truth is that some people might hurt you. I also warn the pastoral team in advance of the lesson that they might get upset students coming to see them so they know the context.

I allowed them to take a short break from the topic within the classroom if needed but not to skip the whole topic. I did give the choice to watch the Kayleigh video or not, but they all chose to watch it.

I think that's reasonable as I'm working with children.

The idea that generally rape law wouldn't be taught or is optional in case it upsets someone is ridiculous. If someone was raped and having flashbacks then they need to be looked after but it doesn't mean you shouldn't teach it.
wbo - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to Dax H:

> Quite a simple work around for this.

> Warn them of possibly upsetting content

Apparently this what they're doing, much to the distress of the Daily Mail

To the op - you don't think the Mail has a slant? It's very obvious. I'd like something like Google translate to convert it from 'little English' but sadly grammar is far easier to correct for than sneering innuendo

marsbar - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to marsbar:

Sorry it's Haywood.
In reply to newishclimber:


The HE sector was issued new guidance from the CMA last year.
These examples are possibly an over cautious reaction to it.

spenser - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to marsbar:

I am not suggesting that any material should not be covered because students may not be able to deal with covering it, if people are ill enough that they can't cope with seeing something they are not well and do need help (not that it's easy for adults to get help with mental health conditions), in some cases it can however be helpful for them to defer something to a day when they are better able to deal with it (this does not need to affect other students on the course, video recordings of lectures which potentially pose such an issue could be made, plenty of the lecture theaters I used seemed to be equipped with video equipment).
marsbar - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to spenser:

I didn't think you were saying that, I was talking about something in the article.

I think what is impossible to deal with is something unexpectedly triggering someone. But that's life.
Big Ger - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to spenser:

> During the 2014–15 school year, for instance, the deans and department chairs at the 10 University of California system schools were presented by administrators at faculty leader-training sessions with examples of microaggressions. The list of offensive statements included: “America is the land of opportunity” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”

Scary!!
wbo - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:
Yes, that quote is scary, and in all a very good article. But as I assume you read all of it, you know that has some 'context ' around it
Big Ger - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to wbo:

Oh certainly.
Welsh Kate - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to Mr Justice Cocklecarrot:

It may be that CMA is partly behind it - certainly some institutions have had very panicked over-reactions to it.

otoh, I advise my students when I'm about to show them pornographic scenes or images of massacres, and this isn't because I think they're delicate - I just think it's fair to advise them that they're going to see something which may be relevant to their studies, but possibly not the sort of thing all of them would want to see, or seek out.
aln - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:
If they're Christian theology students shouldn't seeing the crucifixion be a wonderful thing for them? Isn't their belief system based round that?
Post edited at 00:15
Big Ger - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to newishclimber:
Interesting article in the Torygram;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/08/universities-warned-snowflake-student-demands/


ETA: See also

> They are the said to be the founding fathers of Western philosophy, whose ideas underpin civilised society.

> But students at a prestigious London university are demanding that figures such as Plato, Descartes and Immanuel Kant should be largely dropped from the curriculum because they are white.

> School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)'s student union is insisting that when studying philosophy “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia.

> They say it is part of wider campaign to “decolonise” the university, as the seek to “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism”. It comes after education leaders warned that universities will be forced to pander to the demands of “snowflake” students, however unreasonable they might be.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/01/08/university-students-demand-philosophers-including-pl...
Post edited at 22:26
The New NickB - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

They say decolonise, I say increase tuition fee income.

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