For background, read this Inside Higher Ed article.
As far as I can make out, NYU professor Michael Rectenwald is a commie who takes issue with the trigger warning nonsense because it gives the Left a bad name. The following from an interview in the NYU student newspaper:
Michael Rectenwald: My contention is that this particular social-justice-warrior-left is producing the alt-right by virtue of its insanity. And because it’s doing all these things that manifest to the world, the alt-right is just eating this stuff alive. That’s why I adopted Nietzsche as the icon for the @antipcnyuprof and that’s why I said “anti-pc.” Frankly, I’m not really anti-pc. My contention is that the trigger warning, safe spaces and bias hotline reporting is not politically correct. It is insane. This stuff is producing a culture of hypervigilance, self-surveillance and panopticism.
WSN: Could you explain your feelings towards trigger warnings and safe spaces?
MR: One of the major problems of a trigger warning is this: according to trauma psychology, nobody has any idea what can trigger somebody. It’s completely arbitrary, and I don’t want to be indelicate, but let’s say a woman is raped while the guy happened to have this particular pack of gum on the table. So the woman would see this type of gum, and she’s going to feel triggered by this. Who could possibly anticipate such a thing? There is no way to anticipate just what would trigger people. As for safe spaces, I’m more ambiguous about it. I do think some people need safe spaces from different things, such as different beleaguered populations or groups who have been harassed or hounded — even murdered. People have their right to assemble as they wish. A safe space represents such an assembly. I do question their legality at some kind of state university for example, because it’s exclusionary, and that’s a public space.
WSN: How does that manifest at NYU?
MR: What happens is that the left presents its needs to the administration in universities, and the administration seizes on these opportunities to produce power and control to actually discipline the subjects under them. They don’t care what ideologies — whether it’s right, left, center. My dean two years ago — I mentioned the words trigger warning, and he snickered out loud, as if it was some foreign concept. Then last year, towards the end of the semester when we had a colloquium, he was floating the idea that they would be required on the syllabi. This is what happens. Once the administration gets it, it becomes a tool — an instrument — for them. Then they are able to compute to have more leverage and control over the curriculum, which should be faculty controlled in every university.
WSN: How do students handle this?
MR: Identity politics on campus have made an infirmary of the whole, damn campus. Let’s face it: every room is like a hospital ward. What are we supposed to do? I can’t deal with it — it’s insane. Look at the rules about Halloween costumes now. There’s a hoopla and hysteria surrounding Halloween. I tweeted something the other night about this self-surveillance — that they’re calling on people to do as reference to their Halloween costumes. It literally says “track your own online behavior” — self-surveillance. Safe spaces are turning the whole campus into an infirmary. And what do hospitals require? They require certain containment. They require a certain restriction of movement. They require surveillance. They require all of these things that I’m talking about, and that’s the problem with having a hospital as a university.
WSN: So how does this tie into Trump? Could you explain your support for him?
MR: I don’t support Trump at all. I hate him — I think he’s horrible. I’m hiding amongst the alt-right, alright? And the point is, this character is meant to exhibit and illustrate the notion that it’s this crazy social-justice-warrior-knee-jerk-reaction-triggered-happy-safe-space-seeking-blah, blah, blah, blah culture that it’s producing this alt-right. Now, I’m not dumb enough to go there. And my own politics are very strong — I’m a left communist. But I think that in fact, the crazier and crazier that this left gets, this version of the left, the more the more the alt-right is going to be laughing their asses off plus getting more pissed. Every time a speaker is booed off campus or shooed off campus because they might say something that bothers someone, that just feeds the notion that the left is totalitarian, and they have a point.