Spring 2014 F.E.E. Topic Pool
1. NFL Bullying
In the fall of 2013, the story of Miami Dolphins football player Jonathan Martin leaving his team because of bullying by teammates made national news. The player responsible, Richie Incognito, eventually resigned from the team after it was revealed that he sent a series of threatening, racist messages to Martin. Other members of the Miami Dolphins insist that Incognito only meant to inspire Martin to play harder and take the game more seriously, arguing that this is how teammates on professional football teams talk to one another. After serving a suspension given out by the NFL, Incognito will be free to play again next season. Should the NFL have permanently suspended Richie Incognito for his part in bullying a teammate?
2. Paycheck Fairness Act
Congress recently voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have prohibited employers from assigning different salaries to employees based solely upon gender. Those who oppose the change argue that women no longer need government protection to ensure fair pay, but those in favor claim that women still receive only 80% of the salary that an equally-qualified male would make for performing the same job. Should Congress pass a law requiring employers to pay equally-qualified employees the same salaries, regardless of gender?
3. Yoga Pants Ban
A number of middle schools and high schools across the country ban female students from wearing yoga pants, leggings, or tights to school. These schools argue that such form-fitting clothing may overly-sexualize young girls or may distract male students in the classroom. Some students and women’s groups argue that such bans are ridiculous, and that these schools should focus on issues that truly impact student learning. Is it acceptable for high schools and middle schools to ban female students from wearing yoga pants and other similar types of clothing?
4. “Trigger Warnings”
The UC Santa Barbara student senate recently passed a resolution calling for mandatory “trigger warnings” (cautions from professors) to be added to their course syllabi, alerting students about lectures, readings, films, or discussions that might trigger feelings of emotional or physical distress. Professors would excuse any students, with no points deducted, who feel the material would make them uncomfortable. Many professors argue that their courses often require students to deal with difficult or uncomfortable material. Would it be reasonable to require college professors to provide “trigger warnings” on their syllabi?