To coddle the snowflake, or not to coddle snowflake, that is the question: whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous sensitivity, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubled youth, And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep.
Snowflakes are now too sensitive to suffer through a performance of Shakespeare without being given a trigger warning first.
According to The Telegraph, students at Britain’s prestigious Cambridge University are now being warned of “potentially distressing topics” in plays by Shakespeare, with English Literature undergrads being cautioned that lectures about Titus Andronicus and The Comedy of Errors include “discussions of sexual violence” and “sexual assault“.
The U.K.’s Independent noted that some professors have not exactly welcomed the new change in policy, arguing that the trigger warnings will not do the students any favors when they graduate. Others claim that it will help students who may have a panic attack should it remind them of a personal traumatic experience.
“We have to encourage students to be able to face that, even when they find they’re awkward and difficult for all kinds of good reasons,” she said.
David Crilly, artistic director at The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival, said students who are that triggered have no business even studying Shakespeare.
“If a student of English Literature doesn’t know that Titus Andronicus containts scenes of violence they shouldn’t be on the course,” he said. “This degree of sensitivity will inevitably curtail academic freedom. If the academic staff are concerned they imght say something students find uncomfortable they will avoid doing it.”
Perhaps more disconcerting, the trigger warnings were put in place without a reasonable discussion amongst the faculty, according to one Cambridge lecturer.
Cambridge University maintains that the English faculty has no official policy on trigger warnings.
“Some lecturers indicate that some sensitive material will be covered in a lecture by informing the English Faculty Admin staff,” said a Cambridge spokesman. “This is entirely at the lecturer’s own discretion and is in no way indicative of a Faculty wide policy.”
Issuing trigger warnings before Shakespeare pales in comparison to some policies being instituted here in the United States, where students have outright called for a ban on teaching Shakespeare for being a white, European male.