RU professor says he’s giving trigger warnings to students of ancient Greece, Rome

RU professor says he’s giving trigger warnings to students of ancient Greece, Rome

The situation at our state’s largest university system continues to devolve, Save Jerseyans.

In a recent interview published on Rutgers-Camden News Now, Associate history professor Evan Jewell explained that “traumatic” topics from ancient Greek and Roman culture are accompanied by trigger warnings in his classroom. He also apparently goes out of his way to address politically incorrect attitudes. 

For example, the professor told News Now – in the words of the article’s author – about  “an incident where a student had equated homosexuality with pederasty – a romantic relationship between an adult male and younger male – that was socially acceptable in ancient Greece.”

Jewell first made it clear that he didn’t stand for discrimination and addressed the student’s comments as homophobic and insensitive – “the kind of statement that has been used against people in the LGBT community for centuries; to accuse them of pedophilia, to marginalize them, and to exclude them from the community.”

He then assigned readings explaining how sexuality actually worked in ancient Greece and Rome, and how it differed from the present day. The class also reread passages and discussed how historical judgments are influenced by one’s personal biases, experiences, and views.

“That was actually one of the most effective classroom activities that we had that semester,” he says. “People came away from that with their assumptions exploded and presented with a different understanding. It was apparent that there are actual ethical issues to be dealt with when we are reading scholarship.”

I would like to hear the context.

Do I believe homosexuality and pederasty are synonymous? Of course not. Sexuality is a complicated topic; it was in the ancient world and it certainly is today. The Left will never let us forget it!

The specifics of the issue also aren’t the point we need to consider here. This is a classroom. An environment where freedom of thought is supposed to floursih unimpeded. Unless a student is harassing another? Or behaving in a disrespectful, antagonistic manner (e.g. calling someone derogatory names)? Call me crazy, but I don’t think educators should be singling students out for “insensitivity” and assigning them homework to correct what’s considered an aberrant opinion.

The context is conveniently omitted from the professor’s report on the “incident” in question, leaving you and I to wonder whether the student in question was actually being a rude bigot or trying to make a point that didn’t jive with this particular professor’s worldview.

Jewell was at least willing to admit that trigger warnings aren’t universally accepted as a good idea.

He’s giving them anyway.

“There are debates whether taking such an approach doesn’t prepare them for the real world,” Jewell explained. “Conversely, some argue that, if someone has had a traumatic assault, the discussion might trigger this experience. I think it’s better to prepare the students than to surprise them.”

Unfortunately for Jewell’s students, the real world (which Rutgers certainly is not) is full of surprises. Some of life’s surprises are beautiful. Others are quite nasty. How is shielding young adults from it for 4+ years “better”? Better for whom, exactly? Certainly not the students. Maybe the radicals who are pushing their worldview on a captive audience?

History itself is an extraordinarily messy affair because humans are imperfect creatures. The good ones, the bad ones, and the majority who lie somewhere in between on the scale of morality. Only an honest, unvarnished exploration of history can help the next generation learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. There’s also an inherent problem with forcing humans who live decades or centuries ago to conform to modern ideals: context. There’s that word again! A wooden sailing ship from the Age of Exploration may be “slow and inefficient” and dangerous compared to a contemporary vessel, but it was also a huge technological triumph in the context of its time. Both can be true. Both are true.

Woke history is reductionist history.

Rutgers students are paying a king’s ransom for a dishonest, whitewashed education. Is that really education? Or something far less valuable and innocent?