In a day and age where the fine educators of todays young minds in America have come under attack from students who disagree with their views, one teacher has taken a different approach before the attacks can even start. An associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. James “Duke” Pesta, gave his students a two page contract on the very first day of class before he ever taught his first lesson. That contract states that his students will drop his class if they are easily triggered or offended by ideas and beliefs that are different from their own.
According to the College Fix the contracts statement of purpose reads “In this course, we study literature from cultures that existed before you were born. Their world is not our world. Their beliefs may not be our beliefs. No one asks you to believe or endorse any premise, attitude, precept, theology, political system, or ideology contained in these books or expressed in class. Nor will you ever lose points or be docked grades because of your opinion (written, oral, or otherwise).
We will not malign or trivialize these texts because they do not always parrot our values. We will not assume these books are racist, sexist, or homophobic because of the period in which they were written, or because of the race, class, gender, or religion of the authors,” the contract also says, the outlet reported. “People who approach alien cultures with such preconceived notions are bigots masquerading as critically sophisticated advocates, often in the name of ‘social justice.’ Persons who so diminish the past are neither social nor just, especially when they compel students to adopt their biases.”
The contract that Dr. James “Duke” Pesta had his students sign on the first day of class also offers his students who are easily triggered instructions:
Please drop the class immediately if you are triggered by free speech, the free exchange of ideas, or people who express and defend ideas or opinions that differ from your own.
Please drop the class immediately if you are triggered by open, direct, and adult discussion of issues, including but not limited to issues of faith, war, violence, race, gender, and sexuality.
Please drop the class immediately if you are triggered by recurring encounters with heterosexuality, traditional gender identities, sympathetic representations of Christianity (or religion in general), positive examples of free markets or capitalism, or unapologetic encounters with patriotism, hierarchies, or meritocracy-based institutions or attitudes.
Please drop the class immediately if you feel entitled to censor the thoughts or words of others or insist they tailor their language or attitudes to your preferences.
This particular contract is nothing new for the open minded conservative college professor. He has used it for the last three semesters, and a less detailed version for the last eight years that he has taught college students. Dr. James “Duke” Pesta told College Fix, “I have learned through personal experience that university administrators and equity officers are often not willing to defend classroom speech, even if that speech is taken directly from books or used to explain them. Students are now keenly aware that they can put professors through an intrusive investigatory process just by complaining, even without any corroborating evidence. I have even had department heads who allow students to substitute required classes for other courses just because students complain about what they have ‘heard’ a professor’s classes are like. My contract is an attempt to make it harder for these kangaroo court investigations to be launched in the first place.”
The open minded college professor personally feels that the need for trigger warnings that inform students course material might offend them is rather appalling from an educational point of view. Dr. James “Duke” Pesta said, “But I have come to realize that they may have more utility for professors than students. It’s one more way to try and indemnify yourself from malicious and unfounded complaints by driving away at the outset students who only want their own preconceived ideas validated.”
When speaking about the way his students respond to his contract Dr. James “Duke” Pesta told College Fix, “I’ve not encountered a student yet who would not sign,” he added to the outlet. “I do tell them, when I pass it out the first day, that if they refuse to sign they will have to meet with me sometime during the first week of classes to discuss the contract and make sure we’re on the same page.”