The demand is twofold, that students at Oxford University should not be subjected to any material that is hateful or, to use the proper description, in disagreement with currently fashionable mores. Further, that any reading lists which contain anything even slightly uncomfortable should be headed by a trigger warning.
This does, of course, make certain areas of study rather hard. Given that most of history had views which offend those current mores it’s going to be difficult to do any work on what our forbears thought. Galton on statistics might be OK, but only if we don’t peer into some of the things Galton used statistics to have a look at. Chemistry might come under fire if sinister is still – if it ever was? – used to describe left spiral molecules as opposed to right. Any comparative study of religion’s going to be in a terrible mess of course, for denying the veracity of one Sky Fairy in favour of another, or none, will trigger some deeply held beliefs.
But this is what the students are demanding:
Oxford University students have voted against “ableist, classist and misogynistic” reading lists, claiming that they should not be forced to engage with any “hateful material”. Students should not be required to attend any lectures, tutorials or seminars, nor should they have to sit exams, which involve “hate speech” against a particular group, according to a new policy that the university’s student union has adopted.
The policy, called “Protection of Transgender, Non-binary, Disabled, Working Class, and Women Students from Hatred in University Contexts”, also says that academics should include “trigger warnings” at the top of reading lists to give advance notice of potentially distressing material….
There is a simple answer to this of course, there’s a simple answer to everything. Usually such simplicity is wrong but this solution has the merit of not being so.
Put the trigger warning on the application form. Some of the things in your time at Oxford will make you uncomfortable. This being rather the point of gaining an education. Don’t like it bugger off and fail to be well educated elsewhere.
That should do it, no?