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A new paper from the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal offers universities recommendations on the use of trigger warnings that in essence tell campuses: don’t use them.

“Trigger warnings have been enormously controversial,” the center wrote. “According to some estimates, around 51 percent of academics use trigger warnings. Some universities have begun to require that faculty use trigger warnings before they present potentially sensitive material. However, study after study has found them ineffectual.”

Worse, the center continued, “trigger warnings have been used to shield students from merely controversial ideas. And such warnings have been placed on many widely-read books and plays.” Examples include Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

If universities do choose to move forward with their employment of trigger warnings, the North Carolina-based non-profit gives institutions a blueprint on how to use the policies to mitigate academic consequences.

Here are the paper’s five recommendations:

  • Strongly discourage the use of trigger warnings but allow instructors to choose whether to include them on their syllabi or in courses.
  • Make all syllabi public, preferably months ahead of the course or module. Allow individual students to decide on their own whether they can handle a specific content.
  • Never require instructors to use trigger warnings.
  • Adopt a statement in support of free expression (e.g. The Chicago Principles).
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  • Defend instructors who teach controversial topics.

The Martin G. Center highlighted the University of Chicago’s 2016 letter to incoming students denouncing the use of trigger warnings on campus as a model policy.

Recent research has shown trigger warnings indeed appear to do more harm than good. According to a 2019 Harvard study, respondents who were presented with trigger warnings prior to reading sensitive material reported higher levels of anxiety as opposed to those who weren’t. The paper’s authors theorized that those exposed to the trigger warning were primed to fear what was coming next and only served to reinforce a past trauma.



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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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Son of prominent conservative leader Bozell arrested in connection with Capitol siege

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Leo Brent Bozell IV, the son of conservative leader L. Brent Bozell III, is facing federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 breech of the U.S. Capitol.

Bozell is charged with obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct, according to a federal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

The official affidavit includes photos and videos that appear to show Bozell inside of the U.S. Capitol Building, including the Senate chambers.

At least one photo shows Bozell wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with a logo for a Christian school at which he once coached girls basketball, according to the Huffington Post.

The FBI obtained a photo of him posing with a student of a school, in Hershey, Pa.

His father founder, who founded the Media Research Center and other conservative groups, has condemned the riots, saying, “You can never countenance police being attacked. You cannot countenance our national capitol being breached like this. … I think it is absolutely wrong,” according to NewsBusters.

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