Right to The Point: Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

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More inches of rain to be expected according to The Weather Channel in St. Mary’s City over the next 24 hours. The rain has already caused the women’s soccer game to be postponed.


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Students were registered to vote yesterday by the St. Mary’s Votes group today. There are 20 days until the voter registration deadline. Find out more information on voting at the USVoteFoundation.org or by asking a representative from SMV. They will be tabling outside the great room from 11-2 and 5-7 everyday through the 30th of September.


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As in “title IX”. Michael Dunn appeared before the Student Government Association to talk about the “Reach Out” app. It is available on the App Store and is a resources for students about safety on campus.


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Day left to withdraw from half-semester courses.


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Score of the Women’s Volleyball game this evening against Marymount. The Seahawks kept the game close, but ultimately lost. See the full box score here.



Note: This is a experimental article type. The Point News is attempting to provide more frequent updates on campus events. This is a style of reporting inspired by 538 Significant Figures. We are using their idea with their permission. For updates on world events please check out Walter Hickey’s Significant Figures. If you have any feedback, or ideas for “Right to the Point” please send them to Scott at Managingeditor@thepointnews.com.

Right to the Point: Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Right to The Point Graphic

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Pounds of waste collected by the Office of Sustainability in the Great Room last Thursday as part of their “Weigh the Waste” initiative.


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Special Events planned for this weekend’s Hawktober fest. Click here for a full list of the schedule.


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Rugby players who scored tries in Saturday’s game. Those athletes were Mike Stansell, Andrew Giganti, and Yusuf Khadar. View pictures from the teams tough loss in our previous Right to The Point post.


84,000,000

viewers tuned into watch last nights debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It was the most watched presidential debate of all time, even taking into account that watchers online, on C-Span and at bars/restaurants were not included. Source.


2:1

Score of the Women’s Field Hockey game this weekend against Swanee: University of the south. The match was ended in overtime after the winning goal was scored by SMCM Junior Captain Megan Moore. More details here.



Note: This is a experimental article type. The Point News is attempting to provide more frequent updates on campus events. This is a style of reporting inspired by 538 Significant Figures. We are using their idea with their permission. For updates on world events please check out Walter Hickey’s Significant Figures. If you have any feedback, or ideas for “Right to the Point” please send them to Scott at Managingeditor@thepointnews.com.

Right to the Point: Monday, September 26th, 2016

Right to The Point Graphic

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St. Mary’s College is ranked as the sixth best public liberal arts college in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s “2017 Best Colleges.”


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Day left to register for Hawktoberfest events. Hawktoberbest is only a week away! Check out the events online.


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Days remaining to RSVP for the Center for the Study of Democracy’s event Issues of Criminal Justice: Race-or Poverty- Based? The event takes place on Oct. 6th in St. Mary’s Hall at 8 p.m.


3:1

Score of the Women’s Volleyball game vs. New York University on Saturday.


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Percent of St. Mary’s students travel abroad to study for a semester. See the updated list of semester study abroad locations on the St. Mary’s website.



Note: This is a experimental article type. The Point News is attempting to provide more frequent updates on campus events. This is a style of reporting inspired by 538 Significant Figures. We are using their idea with their permission. For updates on world events please check out Walter Hickey’s Significant Figures. If you have any feedback, or ideas for “Right to the Point” please send them to Scott at Managingeditor@thepointnews.com.

Dear White People

Dear White People (including myself),

Enough is enough. It is time for all of us to take responsibility for the current monstrosity that is threatening our country, Donald Trump, and start taking real steps toward shifting the current narrative. We are presently at a place where a WHITE narcissistic neo-fascist is on the verge of becoming President. He has run a campaign based on racism, sexism, xenophobia, and ableism. It is no longer enough to say “I don’t support him” or “I’ll just vote for her.” During a different election or given different circumstances, this might have sufficed as the bare minimum sufficed. That is NOT the case today. Just saying you don’t support Trump or you’re not going to vote for him is still being complacent to the hatred and bigotry he is spewing towards anyone who is not an abled white heterosexual. I am tired of hearing phrases such as “I am not political,” “I don’t like politics,” or “these aren’t my issues” because these are just cop-outs that only come from a place of unearned systematic power. What is going on right now is bigger than politics; it is about how we as humans should treat one another. For white people, in particular, to say things like that right now it is cowardly and disrespectful. Basically, what you are saying is that you know what Trump says is wrong and you are aware of how our system is rigged against people of color, yet you are choosing to sit on the sidelines because you are WHITE and the disgusting and harmful things he is saying do not affect you.

Kamau Bell said it excellently when he visited campus – Donald Trump is white people’s problem and it is up to us to fix it. It is not up to people of color to fight off the overt racism that has spurned from his rhetoric and the rise of his political power. White people must take responsibility. You DO NOT have to like Hillary to speak out against Trump and his supporters. I too disagree with Hillary’s lies, neoliberal policies, war hawkish past, and seemingly uninspired campaign. However, what is going on right now is bigger than this election. It must be about showing people of color and ourselves that we are better than this hatred. We cannot tolerate this type of hatred, no matter if it is a Presidential candidate or a student on a college campus. It is time to fight against the systematic racism and sexism that many of us have benefited from for so long. So, if that means having uncomfortable conversations or breaking out of our routines that is what’s necessary. It is imperative to challenge Trump supporters and the people that are using his racial slurs and misogynistic remarks. This stance against intolerance can take many shapes, whether it is calling out a white person who says #alllivesmatter in response to #blacklivesmatter or condemning someone if they are wearing a confederate flag on campus. It does not matter when or where you do it; the point is that something must be done.

Growing up in America in the 21st Century, it almost feels like we deserve a President like Trump. America over the last decade and a half has dehumanized the people of the Middle East, stigmatized Islam, worsened other countries’ domestic stability, turned a blind eye to our immigrant population, and has continued to treat people of color as second-class citizens. I think today we are truly at a crossroads where it is up to us to show ourselves and the rest of the world who we truly are and what we value as Americans.

The Cult of St. Mary’s

Studying abroad in a foreign country, with a different culture gives you a perspective on life that can be received no other way than by studying abroad. In a sense, studying abroad is like being born again, with the exception of having eighteen plus years of living in the United States under your belt. Once the umbilical cord is cut, you’re on your own. You notice that people speak differently and look differently. In some cases, you have to cook your own dinner AND go out and buy your own food. Scary, I know. But, living overseas gives you the ability to pause, and think about the difference between your life now and the way it was before. When I first put my foot on foreign soil, I couldn’t help but compare the United States and the current country I was living in. Ultimately, you learn that comparing schools for the next X plus months is pointless, unless of course, you want to flounder. I don’t like floundering. BUT, one thing that has really stuck in my mind is how different St. Mary’s is from the current university I am attending.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is actually a cult.

Yes, you read that right. Saint Mary’s College of Maryland is actually a cult.  When the word “cult” is googled the definition that describes St. Mary’s is: “a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular thing,” and “a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society.” In other words, St. Mary’s College of Maryland is a cult amongst its members. Here’s why:

  1. According to The Princeton Review, St. Mary’s ranks fifth in the nation for “happiest students”.
  2. How many articles/pieces of SMCM spirit wear do you own?
  3. How many times have you seen “SMCM” or “SMCM” written on the rocks with a heart in the river? On the river bank?
  4. Those last two weeks of summer where the only thing you can think of is, “OMG why am I not at the river right now?”
  5. Graduating. Who actually wants to graduate from St. Mary’s?

As someone who is not from a cult, Amy Schumer knows what the college experience should entail. Her autobiography, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, which climbed to the top of The New York Times Best Seller List when it was first published, says something along the lines of: people shouldn’t have too much fun in college. Hmmm.

St. Mary’s students are super happy, they don’t want to graduate, and are full of school pride. It’s a cult. And, as this cult member knows, you can’t leave a cult. Because I am studying abroad and had the opportunity of getting away from St. Mary’s, I’ve had the opportunity to realize I was in this cult too deep. Before I came to the university I currently attend, I couldn’t imagine going to a big school with large lecture halls with hundreds of people, but here I am. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else without having my closest friends’ right next to me, but here I am. Cooking and washing my own dishes was completely out of the question, but here I am, writing this essay after eating and preparing my own meal, all by me, myself, and I. I understand that nothing lasts forever, or at least that’s what Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” told me, so it must be right. According to the song, my study abroad adventure of a lifetime will come to an end, and I will return to the cult of St. Mary’s. Except this time, I’ll be aware of my surroundings, its culture, and the comfort that comes with being a sheltered “adult.” I cannot wait.

Right to the Point in Photos: Saturday, September 25th 2016

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A pufferfish being examined at Riverfest on September 24, 2016. Photo taken by Rose Glenn.
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Pumpkin painting at Riverfest on September 24, 2016. Photo taken by Rose Glenn.
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An English Civil War battle reenactment at Riverfest on September 24, 2016. Photo taken by Rose Glenn.
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Men’s Rugby kickoff game on September 24, 2016. Photo taken by Brooke Lamplough.
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Men’s Rugby kickoff game on September 24, 2016. Photo taken by Brooke Lamplough.
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The ferris wheel at the St. Mary’s County Fair on September 22-25, 2016. Photo taken by Rose Glenn.
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Multiple attractions at the St. Mary’s County Fair on September 22-25, 2016. Photo taken by Rose Glenn.
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Rides and games at the St. Mary’s County Fair on September 22-25, 2016. Photo taken by Rose Glenn.

Right to The Point: Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Right to The Point Graphic
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Score of the Men’s Soccer game, they fell short in their competition against Swarthmore college. Link 

75,000,000
Dollars that will go towards the Jamie L. Robert’s stadium. The facility had it’s groundbreaking stadium last Saturday.

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Copies of the Point news that were distributed on Wednesdays. This is the first publication of our newspaper. From now on we will be publishing daily online, and twice a month in print. Link

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Candidates who are applying for the Associate Vice President for Inclusion and Diversity positions on campus. The 4th candidate held two campus forums today. An email will come out in the future for feedback on how she did.

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Players on the field for rugby’s first home game this season tomorrow (Saturday). Kickoff is at noon. They will be playing against Catholic University on North Fields.


Note: This is a experimental article type. The Point News is attempting to provide more frequent updates on campus events. This is a style of reporting inspired by 538 Significant Figures. We are using their idea with their permission. For updates on world events please check out Walter Hickey’s Significant figures. If you have any feedback, or ideas for “Right to the Point” please send them to Scott at Managingeditor@thepointnews.com .

Daily Conversational Question: 
Do you feel the defense “I feared for my life” by police officers after an fatal altercation with a civilian is honest? Do you feel it is a valid justification?
Please send response to us (Managingeditor@thepointnews.com) if you would like them published.

“CRITICAL MASS”: RACE ON ST. MARY’S CAMPUS

Professor Taber at Community Conversations

On February 8, 2016, President Tuajuanda Jordan sent out an all-student email addressing an incident at a basketball game the previous Wednesday, wherein a student came to the auditorium wearing a Confederate flag. By the time her email was sent, the incident in question had already sparked campus-wide conversation and argument. “I am shocked, disappointed, and frustrated that this happened,” wrote President Jordan.

But what followed? The flag incident, as well as the debacle after the campus wide Natty B’oh Hunt, was center-stage at the forum hosted by a reformed Multiculturalism, Advocacy and Partnership for Progress later that following week. An audience member asked how people had responded in the moment, answered by another attendee saying that people at the game had stepped up and said the flag was inappropriate and had asked the student to leave. The student complied and left the game. As mentioned in the email by President Jordan, the student had chosen to complete a class assignment on subverting cultural norms and the “violation of a folkway” by wearing the flag.

“I think it’s unfair that there are no consequences,” said one audience member, “except for what we are doing as St. Mary’s students.” Students also discussed the effects of racist messages and general negativity on Yik Yak, the first amendment’s protection of free speech and its place in a public school setting, and, of course, President Jordan’s response.

Without naming the student, President Jordan explicitly referred to and recounted the incident in her email. This has perhaps been the divisive point of her response. At the forum and beyond, some have expressed discomfort at her singling out the student. Others are heartened by the administration’s open support and response to racism; this is the tone, for instance, of Dr. Sybol Anderson’s all-student email reply. The sentiment was shared by some at the forum who were heartened by the response, and felt supported by, or at least more optimistic about, the administration.

The discussion at the forum was passionate, but never uncivil. The audience was encouraged to anonymize the student in question who had sparked this particular conversation, but some in the audience were in the same class as the student and spoke frankly about what they felt to be, again, a lack of consequences for the student’s actions.

Further still, audience members at the MAPP Forum expressed feeling at a loss. Members of the audience talked about their friends, students of color, wanting to transfer from St. Mary’s not just in response to this particular incident, but with this incident as an indicator of a broader campus culture. Grace Chao, the Student Coordinator of the MAPP Program and one of three student moderators at the event, said in particular that she has felt the pressure of being the only person of color in a classroom. When potential students have asked her what it is like to attend St. Mary’s as a minority, she said, “I don’t know what to tell them.”

“It’s always the same people at these events,” said one audience member, citing the idea of ‘preaching to the choir’ and a need for more outreach on campus.

Later in February, I was able to speak with with Dean of Students, Leonard Brown. He addressed the MAPP event; the Multiculturalism, Advocacy and Partnership for Progress Program had been dormant but reformed immediately in response to the incident to hold the forum. Dean Brown, however, was not sure what actions had been taken by the professor of the class in which the original project had been assigned.

When asked what the general atmosphere of the campus has been since the incident on racism, Dean Brown said, “I’ve personally talked to a number of students who I think are very astute in describing how challenging and difficult the climate can be for students of color on campus. It has to be placed in that context. The response institutionally needs to be on that level and not just focus on this one situation.” Brown said, in short, racism was a larger issue beyond the issue that had perhaps brought it to a head — there are structural changes that need to be made. “It’s our responsibility on an administrative level to put things into place to address the larger culture,” he said.

In discussing the response of the university, Dean Brown discussed the formation of IDES Workgroups — the Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Work Groups, led by himself and several faculty; they have been most publicly responsible for the Thrive Survey, sent out to assess the climate on campus: whether or not students are “thriving.”

Going forward, Dean Brown emphasized coming together as a community with respect for each other and being able to listen when others are saying they have been hurt. “Professor Bates, I think he described it well: St. Mary’s is a place where we have an opportunity for an ethos that is truly concerned about the other person,” said Dean Brown. “If we could start with that concern for the other person, as opposed to trying to be right or trying to put our opinion on the other person, when something occurs and someone is hurt…our first reaction is, ‘how can I contribute, how can I help?’”

Dean Brown said, however, that no students had come forward to him specifically about wanting to transfer in the wake of the confederate flag incident, but the sentiment that has been expressed to him is that students want to be part of the solution.

“It’s not going to be easy,” he said, “but I do think we have the ability to make progress.”

Among the faculty leadership of the IDES Work Groups mentioned by Dean Brown is Dr. Sybol Anderson. Anderson was also among the faculty who wrote an all-student response to President Jordan’s email, mentioning the IDES Work Groups and the work they do, but also addressing the idea of the flag as a heritage issue. “I reject the flag because the heritage it symbolizes would have me in chains today if it had had its way,” wrote Anderson. Anderson’s response got a warm shout-out at the forum, and its sentiments have been echoed many times since in addressing why, specifically, the Confederate flag is a hurtful symbol.

When interviewed, Anderson reaffirmed her support of the email sent out by President Jordan, saying that in the past, the administration had been unresponsive on similar incidents, leaving some students feeling unheard. “It’s hurtful in ways that some people don’t really understand,” she said. She also stated that, given her position in the institution, President Jordan’s message and gesture of support was ‘huge.’ She countered criticism of Jordan’s handling as too specific to the student by noting that it is important to “name harms” to keep them from becoming invisible.

The other thing she wanted to address was the legacy of the Confederate flag. “What I wanted to convey to the student was a sense of, while I can understand a display of the flag that wasn’t meant to harm…it’s still the case that it was a harmful display.”

Anderson went on to say that problems on the St. Mary’s campus were not tied just to the Confederate flag incident, but that students’ discomfort with the climate of campus on issues of race has gone back much further. “Students have talked about wanting to transfer in their first year, but recognizing some value in being in St. Mary’s, and wanting to stay here, stick it out, be the change they wanna see. But they’ve talked about still feeling alienated, unwelcome, unsafe.” But dealing with these feelings and microaggressions — which are smaller, everyday nonverbal and verbal slights that target an oppressed group — in an environment that feels intolerant and unaware can be exhausting. One student feeling this way told Anderson, “It would be great just to be able to focus academics.”

Anderson cemented that cultural responsibility, civic engagement, and social justice must be among our goals as an institution and a community. Writing others off as oversensitive or letting conversations end because of differences in opinion will not bridge gaps in perspective. “For faculty in particular, we have to understand that if we really care about our students, we will extend ourselves,” Anderson said. Moving forward, Anderson described herself as hopeful that the St. Mary’s community would be up to the challenge of creating change. “We have a critical mass of people on campus who are saying, yeah, let’s do this. We’ve got the leadership of the institution behind us. What’s stopping us?”

Early in the morning on March 23, Public Safety descended on Goodpaster Hall to wipe down faculty white boards, in classrooms and in offices. Someone had gotten into Goodpaster over night, and had left slogans from the Black Lives Matter movement written on boards all over the building. Some #BlackLivesMatter scrawls had been left neglected in the basement, present for the next day of class. This happened in the same week of the Natty Boh Hunt.

The Natty Boh Hunt is a St. Mary’s College tradition that might not need introduction in a St. Mary’s paper. It happens the weekend of Easter, with seniors hiding painted cans of National Bohemian beer in the style of an Easter egg hunt for underclassmen to find around campus. This year, Natty Boh cans were found painted with rape jokes, anti-semitic jokes, and, again, the Confederate flag, among other things. This event was discussed with the arson incidents in Dorchester in an all-student email from Eric Schroeder, Student Trustee, as part of a pattern of behavior that St. Mary’s should stand against. Large swathes of this email were later quoted in a Washington Post article, which profiled the events on campus.

Within the week after the Natty Boh Hunt, a message from President Jordan was sent out announcing a campus-wide meeting to discuss the recent events and “to begin our work as a community – students, faculty, and staff – to find solutions to these challenges.” The meeting, which would fill the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic and Recreation Center, would go on for two hours, starting at 9:45 A.M.; students in 9:20 A.M. classes were to attend class and walk to the meeting with professors. The Great Room, the Pub, the Daily Grind and the Campus Store all closed during this time, and announced their closure in advance to support attendance to the event.

Both students from leadership positions and faculty were on the stage for the event. Though she had comments, President Jordan ultimately acted as one of many moderators for the meeting. Microphones were run through the audience by faculty and staff, and at the hour mark, President Jordan tasked students with breaking into groups to discuss what they wouldn’t change about St. Mary’s; the second question addressed next steps to take.

“Traditions like Natty Boh Hunt and Mardigreens, that should continue,” said an audience member in one of the initial remarks after the first question posed to the groups, to resounding applause. This point was a recurring theme in answers from the groups.

“The traditions themselves are not harmful,” said another member of the audience, “but the people need to change.” The attendee continued, “We don’t feel as though the St. Mary’s Way should change — that is what we want to be. But that is not who we are.”

“Keeping St. Mary’s weird means keeping it awkward,” noted one attendee, referring to the awkwardness that can surround discussions of race or privilege.

The meeting’s format addressed concerns about the “preaching to the choir” aspect of campus forums on race, but a counterpoint discussed from more than one member of the audience was that people forced to listen might not take anything meaningful from discussion. When discussing options for moving forward, a prevailing suggestion was more forums for discussion, which had also been mentioned when discussing things that shouldn’t change. “We need to have situations where we have a smaller group of people and much more back and forth conversation,” said one attendee. A faculty member, meanwhile, suggested diversity training. The effect of Yik Yak and online anonymity was also discussed, and similarly, a change in campus culture of interpersonal connection.

As the event came to a close, a faculty moderator and microphone runner commented, saying, “We have very little, and I really want to hear from those who are suffering most.” She then asked “white, straight males” to sit down, which was met with a very mixed response from the crowd. One of the last members of the audience to take a microphone proclaimed themselves to be a straight, white male in prefacing their comments.

When interviewed, Sybol Anderson stated that some students were left wondering at faculty’s lack of a general comment or response to the Confederate flag incident, though she had contextualized it as part of a larger issue at St. Mary’s. In the wake of Natty Boh and leading up to A Moment to Pause, individual departments all sent out statements to condemn recent incidents on campus. There have been in-class discussions, with multiple professors in different departments going so far as to redirect their syllabi to address racism, social justice and civility in response.

After the week’s events, many echoed the same statement, like Vera Demanka, Vice President of the Black Student Union, who said: “Don’t let the conversation end here.” Events such as the Round Table Discussion on Race with members of the faculty, and the Drawing SMCM Together Community Conversation meetings at the start of the fall semester, have continued the discussion. For now, it seems the conversation will surely continue. Spring 2016 was a semester that will set the tone for the St. Mary’s community going forward, for better or for worse.

Things Less Nerve-Wracking Than Housing Selection

Caroline Hall

It’s everyone’s favorite time in the semester: when all your friends come together—or fall apart—to find a place on campus to live. It seems simple right? You pick a few friends, figure out a place to live, and send in your application. Nope. Don’t forget about your credits, oh, and your friends’ credits, oh, and the number of people you can live with. Not many St. Mary’s students are excited about the prospect of housing selection, so here are some things that seem like a cake-walk compared to this painstaking process.

  1. Being 5 miles from the closest gas station when the light comes on.
  2. Starting your conclusion at 11:50 when the assignment is due by midnight.
  3. Meeting your significant other’s parents.
  4. Your significant other meeting your parents.
  5. Watching the amount of mozzarella sticks slowly diminish while there are still five people in front of you in line.
  6. When the beeping in Catch Phrase gets faster and faster and your teammates are still clueless.
  7. When a cop follows you for about ten minutes before you pull over out of sheer panic.
  8. Walking past the bell tower at 12:59.
  9. The five-minute counter in the corner of the screen when buying concert tickets.
  10. Having to wait seven months for the next episode of The Walking Dead.
  11. And of course, the ever pleasant course selection.

Trigger Warnings Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean: A Practical Application

It will get better, keep hope alive

So you’re an English professor. On the list for your semester’s curriculum is the book Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

You consider this book a necessary text, on many grounds—Nabokov’s mastery of language, his use of an unreliable narrator, the cultural impact the book has had—whatever. Doesn’t matter. It’s an important book and you want your class to read it.

But you also want to look out for the mental health of your students, because, hey, shouldn’t we all be doing that? So, on your syllabus, you put a blanket warning about some of the subjects you’re going to be covering in class. Maybe you put a warning specifically for Lolita; maybe for some of the other books that feature intense themes, too (because, let’s be real, if I had a nickel for every book in the English canon featuring violence against women I’d…certainly have some nickels).

The class period before you’re going to start discussion, you hold up the class and you say something like this: “A fair warning for those of you who don’t know— Nabokov’s book features some pretty intense descriptions of pedophilia and sexual abuse of children. The book is told through the eyes of a predator and addresses the audience as if they were hearing the courtroom defense of his actions. If the topic makes you uncomfortable, or you’d for any reason like to talk to me about it, you can drop by during office hours or we can set up an appointment to discuss your feelings about the text.”

There you go. You’re done.

Now, if you’re a student in that class, and you have reason to be affected by a book dealing with those themes, you have a lot of options open to you. Some students might just be happy to have the warning—they have the information they need to mentally prepare themselves for what they’re about to read, and that’s enough for them. Others might take steps to protect their own health—they might set aside some time for decompression after reading, like a mental cool-down. They might make another appointment with their therapist, or with the campus Wellness Center.  They might just call their mom, or they might journal about what they’re reading, or they might watch cartoons to take their mind off of it afterwards.

I’d say that for the majority of students (of the minority who need trigger warnings in the first place) these steps would probably suffice.

There might be some, of course, who truly feel they can’t read the book, for the sake of their mental health. And in that case, it’s largely up to the policy of the professor. If that student goes to their professor and says, “I’m sorry, I think I’m too affected by this material to analyze it in class; I’m willing to substitute the book or do supplemental work to replace it,” the professor can either say, “I’m open to that, what do you think about substituting it with _________?” or they can say, “I’m sorry, Lolita is fundamental to this course and I don’t think you’ll get the full experience without reading it.” At that point the student might reevaluate, or they might just say, “Well, I think I might have to drop the class then.”

And that’s…fine. Students drop classes for all sorts of reasons. And that particular student, if they’re so affected, probably would have dropped the class anyway, but under more duress and under much worse circumstances.

Either way, “not reading Lolita” is not some sort of mortal sin that means you’ve cut yourself off from the realm of “true literature” and have destined yourself to be one of the many sheep-like masses who will never understand society on a real level…or whatever. You just didn’t read the book. How many other kids in that class will pretend to read Lolita because they didn’t have time? The world’s not going to end.

Why I feel the need to lay this out is because the “end of the world” seems to be what a lot of doomsayers think is going to happen if college professors start implementing trigger warnings. That’s why there have already been a thousand Op-Ed articles (just like this one, sorry about that) and think-pieces about “self-censorship” and “PC culture” and “the death of the classroom.” The University of Chicago recently issued a letter to the student body with an ill-informed missive about how their school will not be a place for students to be “coddled” by trigger warnings and safe spaces. There’s a broad misunderstanding out there about a) what trigger warnings are, b) who they are useful for, and c) what people do with them.

And to those of you who say they aren’t useful, that most students will never have need of trigger warnings even if faculty begin to use them on a wider scale—maybe you’re right. I would even say that most students will never need or use trigger warnings. But I also know this: you’re naïve if you think there aren’t rape survivors on your campus, in your classroom. You’re naïve if you think there aren’t St. Mary’s students with PTSD, with mental illnesses. And even if you, as a professor, only hear from one or two students a year who are helped by your 30 second warning at the beginning of class—isn’t that worth it?