Diligent readers of this blog may recall some text from our posting of the audio of the Regents meeting of March 20:
...(T)he meeting began with a public comment period. A student spoke about "trigger warnings" at UC-Santa Barbara which have something to do with PTSD. Really, I had no idea what this was about or what the Regents should do about it. Hint: If you want to speak at Regents meetings, make it clear what you are talking about...
Thanks to an op ed in the LA Times, the mystery is solved. But the incident on which it is based is rather bizarre:
Miller-Young's excuse for her deed (was) that she was "triggered" by images in the protesters' materials, which reportedly included graphic pictures of aborted fetuses. Here's what the officer said she told him:
"In essence, Miller-Young told me she felt 'triggered' by the images on the posters. Miller-Young stated that she had been walking through the Arbor to get back to South Hall. Miller-Young said she was approached by people who gave her literature about abortion. Miller-Young said that she found this literature and pictures disturbing. Miller-Young said that she found this material offensive because she teaches about women's 'reproductive rights' and is pregnant. She said an argument ensued about the graphic nature of these images. Miller-Young said that she [sic] situation became 'passionate' and that other students in the area were 'triggered' in a negative way by the imagery." ...
Fortunately, police and prosecutors in Santa Barbara County don't seem to be buying Miller-Young's "triggering" defense to committing what might be viewed as "triggering" trauma to someone else. And fortunately as well, UCSB administrators, while not especially sympathetic to antiabortion "crusaders," as they call them, did stand up for their free-speech rights. According to National Review, UCSB Vice Chancellor Michael Young wrote in an email:
"[T]he principle of freedom of expression resides at the very foundation of our society and, most certainly, at the foundation of a world-class university such as UC Santa Barbara. Freedom and rights are not situational: we either have freedom of speech or we do not. We cannot pick and choose which views are allowed to be aired and who is allowed to speak."
Full op ed at http://touch.latimes.com/#section/527/article/p2p-79728231/
The trigger defense seems like the “Twinkie defense” which is associated with the 1978 murder of the mayor of San Francisco – although it wasn’t the essence of the defense in that case. See http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Myth-of-the-Twinkie-defense-The-verdict-in-2511152.php
It still remains a mystery as to what the speaker at the Regents meeting wanted the Regents to do. But it seems unlikely that UC-SB will adopt rules allowing "triggered" attacks on demonstrators.
A report in the student newspaper on the incident is at:
*Actually, the video which is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLemX9QtUa4 is not very clear.