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Trigger Warnings And Safe Spaces: The Coddling Debate On College Campuses

"The Coddling of the American Mind," by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.
"The Coddling of the American Mind," by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Political correctness on college campuses. Are so-called “trigger warnings” and intellectual “safe spaces” creating a generation of students who can’t cope? Authors of a new book say “yes.”


Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a group that advocates for free speech on campus. Co-author of “The Coddling of the American Mind.” (@glukianoff)

Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist, professor of ethical leadership, New York University’s Stern School of Business. Co-author of “The Coddling of the American Mind.” (@JonHaidt)

From The Reading List

Excerpted from THE CODDLING OF THE AMERICAN MIND by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. Copyright © Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt 2018. Published by Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company. Reprinted with permission.

The Atlantic: “The Coddling of the American Mind” — “Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in ‘that violates the law’) lest it cause students distress. In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education describing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia—and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’d sent filed Title IX complaints against her. In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. ‘I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,’ the headline said. A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses (see Caitlin Flanagan’s article in this month’s issue). Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke.”

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