UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | May 20, 2024

No need to censor for underage students

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Some people won’t watch “The Walking Dead” let alone tolerate a professor who uses profanity or sexual content as an educational tool.

While reducing exposure to profanity or sexual content is a personal choice that everyone has a right to, it’s nearly impossible at a public university — or in any public arena, really — to not come across questionable material, even if you are an underage student. 

While there are policies at Dixie State University that govern consent for underage students, there are no policies governing faculty behavior in front of students who are minors. According to the DSU admissions policy, the director of admissions will consider students younger than 15 years of age who have parental or guardian consent on an individual basis, since most 15-year-olds are mature enough to handle the more adult college environment.

However, according to The Guardian, the faculty senate at the University of Huston prepared a special presentation for faculty that urged them to refrain from discussing gun laws on campus after the University of Texas announced it would allow guns on its Austin campus. 

The presentation detailed seemingly no-brainer advice for faculty members on censoring themselves to not “go there” if they sense anger or tension when the subject arises.

Parents who allow their underage children to attend a public university are taking responsibility for the risks associated with the college academic environment. Those risks might include their child being exposed to profanity, violent content or sexual content on occasion.

Justine Connell, a sophomore general education major from Salt Lake City, said if the student is offended by material in a college course, it’s their own fault. 

“It’s older students, and its a different demographic that the professors are teaching, so it’s not really their fault if you’re exposed to something you don’t really want to see,” she said.

Professors have been trained to teach adults, as that is why they chose to teach in an adult college setting. Faculty shouldn’t have to adjust however they feel comfortable teaching their classes for underage students. Of course, if the sensitive material is completely unnecessary and the average person would consider it offensive, students (underage or otherwise) shouldn’t have to be subjected to that.

With that said, students in a college setting will be expected to not only act as an adult, but also be ready to be treated like one.

Underage students shouldn’t be treated differently than any other student. As a freshman who was 17 years old during my first two months of college, I certainly didn’t want to stand out for being sensitive to course material. I was ready for the big bad world, and, if you’re attending a full-fledged public university, you should be, too.