University of Massachusetts Amherst seal
|Date||April 25, 2016|
|Venue||University of Massachusetts Amherst|
|Location||Amherst, Massachusetts, United States|
|Theme||Freedom 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. Some students attending began protesting mid-event, accusing the panelists of hate speech and demanding that they leave campus.
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. In his introductory remarks, Yiannopoulos stated "Feminism is cancer. Thank you very much," and immediately ended his comments, prompting more shouts of protest. Hoff Sommers took the podium, but before she could begin she was met with shouts accusing her of racism. 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. The interruptions and protests continued throughout the event, with protesters catcalling the speakers, accusing them of racism and hate speech, and insulting them.
One protester, a Hampshire College student named Cora "Trigglypuff" Segal, was recorded repeatedly shouting "Keep your hate speech off this campus!" and "Fuck you!", and demanding "Stop talking to us like children!"; to this last demand, Hoff Sommers replied, "Stop acting like a child and I will." 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".
One of the event organizers, Nicholas Pappas, indicated that protests had been anticipated, 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", and that the purpose of the event was to "give other students our perspective."
All proceeds from the event were donated to charity.
- "Lecture: 'The Triggering: Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far?'". UMassAmherst Events Calendar. University of Massachusetts Amherst. April 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- 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.
- Bettis, Kara (26 April 2016). "'Free speech' panel triggers insults at UMass Amherst". NewBostonPost. Boston Media Networks. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
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- 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.
- Hicks, William. "UMass students 'triggered' at event featuring politically incorrect comics, pundits". Education. New York City: Fox News. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- McCain, Robert Stacy (1 May 2016). "What #TrigglyPuff Means". The Other McCain. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- Fricke, Peter; Gockowski, Anthony. "UMass Amherst students throw temper tantrum at free speech event". Campus Reform. Leadership Institute. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- "Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven Crowder and Christina Hoff Sommers at UMass". "Milo Yiannopoulos", YouTube. April 25, 2016
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