From the Duke Chronicle, regarding the school’s decision to have students read Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home:
Several incoming freshmen decided not to read “Fun Home” because its sexual images and themes conflicted with their personal and religious beliefs. Freshman Brian Grasso posted in the Class of 2019 Facebook page July 26 that he would not read the book “because of the graphic visual depictions of sexuality,” igniting conversation among students. The graphic novel, written by Alison Bechdel, chronicles her relationship with her father and her issues with sexual identity.
“I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it,” Grasso wrote in the post.
And from a report by the American Association of University Professors on “trigger warnings” and letting students opt out of materials they find offensive or troubling:
The presumption that students need to be protected rather than challenged in a classroom is at once infantilizing and anti-intellectual. It makes comfort a higher priority than intellectual engagement and … it singles out politically controversial topics like sex, race, class, capitalism, and colonialism for attention. Indeed, if such topics are associated with triggers, correctly or not, they are likely to be marginalized if not avoided altogether by faculty who fear complaints for offending or discomforting some of their students.