Courtesy of the Cornell Free Expression Alliance

President Martha Pollack became triggered, acknowledging Columbia's superiority to Cornell.

April 20, 2023

Professor Cites Research From Columbia University, Triggers Students

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Trigger Warning: This article contains a discussion of Columbia University.

Students are outraged following an incident in Government 6969: The Politics of Politics that occurred in class on Monday. Prof. Frida O. Skeech, government, cited research about political development in political environments from Columbia University without any warning, triggering students.

“I can’t believe I was subjected to research from the second-best university in New York,” Michael Silverman ’26 said. “I thought I was supposed to be getting a high-class education from an elite Ivy League institution.”

Cornell students have recently been posting to Sidechat about the increase in teachers spouting research from Columbia University. 

“Anyone else have a prof mention Columbia with no warning?” an anonymous user wrote in a post with 420 upvotes. “What is happening to this institution?”

While professors have historically had an understanding that all Ivy League research outside Cornell University is off-limits in classrooms, Cornell’s recent rise over Columbia in the U.S. News and World Report rankings have left professors confused.

“I don’t understand why students are getting so triggered about this,” Skeech said. “Rodents, Stanford, war — those I all understand getting upset over. But Columbia University? We surpassed them in the rankings — there’s nothing to be insecure about anymore.”

The controversy over the validity of the U.S. News and World Report has left some students feeling upset that Cornell may still be the lowest-ranked university in the Ivy League. They say it is triggering when professors bring up Columbia and request that professors provide a trigger warning when discussing the school.

“It is very upsetting to be reminded of a school that may be more prestigious than Cornell,” Kelly Mark ’24 said. “I wish professors would be more mindful when selecting their research sources, and provide a warning should they need to present the material.”

Following Skeech’s remarks, the Student Assembly convened to pass a resolution mandating trigger warnings for any mentions of Columbia University in the classroom. 

“Mentioning a school such as Columbia University can make students feel inferior and be a big blow to their confidence,” the resolution read. “Requiring trigger warnings can ensure students have time to exit the classroom should their ego be fragile.”

This resolution has garnered the attention of the national conservative media, who appear triggered over the trigger warning resolution.

“The liberal snowflake students at Cornell University need to get a grip,” the New York Post wrote. “They need to learn to embrace their last-place Ivy ranking. Besides, they are still part of the elite.”

Under national backlash, President Martha Pollack released a statement condemning the resolution and acknowledging Columbia’s superiority to Cornell, notably without any reader advisory.

“I understand that students are triggered,” Martha wrote in her media-relations crafted statement. “I acknowledge that it can be triggering to talk about Columbia. But if we can’t talk about Columbia without the presence of a trigger warning, how can we have a democracy?”

The controversy has sparked the creation of the 2023-2024 academic year theme, “Triggered-No-More: Freedom of Expression at Cornell.” Somehow, this theme will make students less sensitive and ensure steady alumni donations.

“Engaging with controversial topics is essential,” Martha wrote in yet another media-relations crafted email to the student body. “Suppress your triggered emotions, and let’s try to keep this issue on the DL, can we?”

Triga Warner is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected].

Note to the CFSA: This is a satirical piece. Please do not cite quotes from this article in your next newsletter.