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The Triggering

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The Triggering
The seal of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, consisting of an American Indian holding a bow at his side in his right hand and an arrow in his left, with a five-pointed star above his right shoulder, enclosed in a shield. Around the bottom of the shield is a ribbon which reads "Ense Petit Placidam sub Libertate Quietem". Around the shield and the ribbon is a circle enscribed "University of Massachusetts / Amherst 1863". The entire seal is in black and white. The seal of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst seal
DateApril 25, 2016
VenueUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
LocationAmherst, Massachusetts, United States
ThemeFreedom of speech, politics, political correctness

The Triggering: Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far? was an event hosted by the College Republicans Club of the University of Massachusetts Amherst on April 25, 2016, featuring former philosophy professor and host of The Factual Feminist YouTube series Christina Hoff Sommers, political commentator Steven Crowder and former Breitbart senior technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos. The topic of discussion was the effect of political correctness on free speech, and whether political correctness culture has grown to be detrimental. Additional topics included social justice, feminism, trigger warnings, and microaggressions.[1] Some students attending began protesting mid-event, accusing the panelists of hate speech and demanding that they leave campus.[2]


A low-quality photo of Christina Hoff Sommers, sitting in what appears to be her home, wearing a dark red shirt and red and black scarf.
Christina Hoff Sommers on Louder with Crowder in 2016
A photo of Milo Yiannopoulos at the LeWeb13 Conference in Paris, France, wearing a microphone headset and a red, black, and white scarf over a brown leather jacket
Milo Yiannopoulos at the LeWeb13 Conference in Paris, France, on 5 June 2013

As Kyle Boyd, president of the UMass Amherst College Republicans, introduced the topic and attempted to begin the discussion, he was interrupted by the shouts of both protesters and supporters.[3][4] In his introductory remarks, Yiannopoulos stated "Feminism is cancer. Thank you very much," and immediately ended his comments, prompting more shouts of protest.[3][4][5] Hoff Sommers took the podium, but before she could begin she was met with shouts accusing her of racism.[3] Then Crowder began to deliver his opening remarks, addressing the protesters in the audience as "you silly liberal fruitcakes" and called them out for the interruptions.[6] The interruptions and protests continued throughout the event, with protesters catcalling the speakers,[3] accusing them of racism and hate speech,[4][5] and insulting them.[3][7]

One protester, a Hampshire College student named Cora "Trigglypuff" Segal,[8] was recorded repeatedly shouting "Keep your hate speech off this campus!"[4][5][9][8] and "Fuck you!",[8][9] and demanding "Stop talking to us like children!";[3][5][9] to this last demand, Hoff Sommers replied, "Stop acting like a child and I will."[3][5][9] Before the event, the student had distributed flyers claiming that the panel was made up of people who "don’t give a shit about people’s trauma and pain and think it’s funny to thrust people into states of panic and distress" and who "fundamentally do not understand what a trigger is, what it means to be triggered, and what a trigger warning is meant to prevent".[9]

One of the event organizers, Nicholas Pappas, indicated that protests had been anticipated,[3][5] but that they had not been expected to be as intense as they actually were. Pappas described the protesters as seeking to "censor speech they don't like",[3] and that the purpose of the event was to "give other students our perspective."[3][5]

All proceeds from the event were donated to charity.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Lecture: 'The Triggering: Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far?'". UMassAmherst Events Calendar. University of Massachusetts Amherst. April 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  2. Burleigh, Nina (26 May 2016). "The Battle Against 'Hate Speech' on College Campuses Gives Rise to a Generation That Hates Speech". Newsweek. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Bettis, Kara (26 April 2016). "'Free speech' panel triggers insults at UMass Amherst". NewBostonPost. Boston Media Networks. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Aliberti, Léa (29 April 2016). "UMass students react poorly to "The Triggering" panel". Amherst Wire. Journalism Department of University of Massachusetts Amherst. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Anagnos, Chloe (5 May 2016). "TRIGGERING! – Political Correctness Gone Too Far at UMass Amherst". Liberator Online. The Advocates for Self-Government. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  6. Howerton, Jason (26 April 2016). "Comedian Steven Crowder Dishes Out Brutal, Nearly 5-Minute 'Reality Check' to 'Skeleton Warriors' When They Interrupt Event". TheBlaze. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  7. Hicks, William. "UMass students 'triggered' at event featuring politically incorrect comics, pundits". Education. New York City: Fox News. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 McCain, Robert Stacy (1 May 2016). "What #TrigglyPuff Means". The Other McCain. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Fricke, Peter; Gockowski, Anthony. "UMass Amherst students throw temper tantrum at free speech event". Campus Reform. Leadership Institute. Retrieved 23 July 2016.

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