Discuss; don't avoid
People die. Racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and innumerable other types of discrimination exist. The human condition is not solely a tale of universal fairness, contentment and happiness.
Many college courses, from the classics through history to literature and certain sciences, confront students with inconvenient facts and perspectives that might make some of those students uncomfortable.
Now, a movement has begun on some campuses to provide students with "trigger alerts" before they take a class, that the course content might upset them by reviving unpleasant memories or fears.
The New York Times cited the University of California at Santa Barbara, which is considering trigger alerts about the anti-Semitism in Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" and Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway," which deals with suicide, and other works.
Allowing students to slalom through the curriculum doesn't well serve them. "Tom Sawyer" offends? Discuss; don't avoid.