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Why We Should Not Use Trigger Warnings

Our First Amendment rights include the freedom of speech, religion, press, protest, and petition. In fact, the First Amendment is protecting my right to voice my opinion right now as I am utilizing my freedom of speech. Studying journalism has taught me that my sources are important and that my material and content matters. I do not need to release what I am going to publish to the public prior to my intentional deadline, nor do I have to warn anyone what I am about to report on. It is my basic right to pursue a story and go about it in the way that I choose.

On a college campus, this would be considered not having my rights infringed on by “trigger warnings.” Trigger warnings are essentially the opposite of what I just listed, and they focus solely on college campuses. They hold administration accountable for releasing what is going to be said in classes, releasing the names of guest speakers, informing the public what those speakers are going to speak on, etc. In the case of pushing someone dealing with a mental health issue over the edge, trigger warnings have been put into place on campuses all across the nation.

However, I don’t think they should even be given the time of day at PLNU. I regard mental health as incredibly important and quite frankly have experienced my fair share of bouts with depression. At the end of the day though, we live in a world that is aimed at being too politically correct and trying to please too many people. I just don’t think this is feasible, and honestly I don’t think it should be considered. Mental health issues are a pertinent problem, especially with people our age, but I don’t think that infringing on our basic rights in fear of being offensive is correct.

Attending PLNU has shown me what true community is and has shown me how easy it is to get involved and to pour into others, and to allow people to do the same for me. Our school is small and the access to resources to combat mental health problems are plenty. We have access to the wellness center, counselors, friends, and professors. We are blessed to have a small student to teacher ratio and I believe that this helps form closer, more personal relationships. These relationships can all act as resources when focusing on the mental health aspect of things.

On top of that, we go to such a small school that the majority of us all live in the “Loma Bubble.” To have the school not value our freedom of speech would be a shame and would just further enable this bubble. To give our school the power to police our conversations or to tell us what type of topics we should consider or focus on takes away from our freedom to be challenged intellectually. The opportunity to get into conversations about “inappropriate” or uncomfortable things allows for other opinions to be explored. It forces us to really think about what it is we believe in and why we feel one way about a particular topic. The idea of being put in a position to really think about your stance is stimulating and a great opportunity to learn. This is why I believe trigger warnings are all around a bad idea and should not be considered at all.

About the author

Ariel Oriarte

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