Seriously, is there anybody studying theology—indeed, anybody alive—who hasn’t seen an image of Jesus on the cross? It’s so common that one would think that you needn’t be warned about exposure to it.
Well, that doesn’t take into account the new campus climate of giving warnings about things that don’t seem triggering at all. And Glasgow has fallen prey to that trend. As the Torygraph reported six days ago:
The University of Glasgow, part of the elite Russell Group, has introduced the warnings to its theology students studying Creation to Apocalypse: Introduction to the Bible (Level 1).
In one lecture about Jesus, it warned students it “contains graphic scenes of the crucifixion” adding that it would be flagged up to students beforehand.
The same centre has issued warnings to its veterinary students who work with dead animals and those studying Contemporary Society who will be discussing illness and violence.
But it’s worse: forensic students are warned about blood, and archeology students warned that they may see “well-preserved archaeological bodies” (presumably mostly skeletons), and vet students cautioned that they might see dead animals.
. . . Others include veterinary students being warned they will be working with dead mice, archaeology students that they will see a skeleton and forensic science pupils that they will be studying blood.
A spokesman for Glasgow University said: “We have an absolute duty of care to all of our students and where it is felt course material may cause potential upset or concern warnings may be given.”
Forensic science students at Strathclyde University have been given a “verbal warning at the beginning of some lectures where sensitive images, involving blood patterns, crime scenes and bodies are in the presentation”.
At Stirling University archaeology students were given advanced warning that they would be shown an image of a well-preserved archaeological body in case they found it “a bit gruesome”.
It has also told its gender studies students: “We cannot anticipate or exclude the possibility that you may encounter material which is triggering [ie, which can trigger a negative reaction] and we urge that you take all necessary precautions to look after yourself in and around the programme.”
In some case students are allowed to absent themselves from the class and lecturers are advised to check on them later in the day.
My view is that you have no business studying theology if you can’t look at an image of the Crucifixion, veterinary medicine if you can’t stomach dead animals, nor forensics if you can’t take bodies and blood. As I’ve said before, there are cases in which students can be properly warned about images that they may find upsetting, but in no case should students be allowed to avoid the material. As for “lecturers checking in on those traumatized students,” that just perpetuates the culture of in loco parentis, which colleges shouldn’t be promulgating. It gives those students an unwarranted sense of specialness and entitlement.
TRIGGER WARNING: DYING JESUS!