“trigger warnings are necessary in order to make our academic spaces accessible to all students”
The faculty at American University passed a resolution against Trigger Warnings in 2015. However, some members of the student government not only want Trigger Warnings, they want them to be mandatory.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
Pushing Trigger Warnings
The University of Chicago has received considerable attention for Dean John Ellison’s letter to incoming students about free speech. He warned freshmen not to expect safe spaces or trigger warnings, setting off a national debate about their value and prevalence. A different kind of debate is going on at American University, where students are demanding mandatory trigger warnings — despite the Faculty Senate’s 2015 resolution against them.
“There’s a difference between our students and our faculty about the necessity of trigger warnings on syllabi and the importance of centering student trauma in academic spaces,” Devontae Torriente, president of American’s student government, says in new YouTube video introducing the group’s #LetUsLearn campaign in favor of such warnings. “The fact of the matter is, trigger warnings are necessary in order to make our academic spaces accessible to all students, especially those who have experienced trauma.”
Torriente adds, “In doing so, we uphold [American’s] commitment to academic freedom and allow all students to participate in the exchange of ideas and discussion.”
The assertion is something of an inversion of the logic the Faculty Senate used last year in its resolution against mandatory trigger warnings, which it shared again this fall via email with students, faculty and staff. The debate is also exemplary of the larger national discussion about trigger warnings, in which proponents — including survivor advocates and many students — say they increase participation and therefore contribute to academic freedom, and critics — including the American Association of University Professors — say they may limit free speech and inquiry.
Here’s the video message Devontae Torriente uploaded to YouTube:
Heat Street has more on this:
Student government will soon meet with American University’s faculty senate, pushing it to reconsider its stance and embrace trigger warnings for each class. The meetings will focus on “creat[ing] a campus-wide definition to continue to make academic spaces accessible to all students,” Torriente said.
But that’s easier said than done. A reporting project published by American University students last semester illustrates how on campus, there’s little agreement on the definitions of terms like “safe space” or “trigger warning.”
Of course, you could say that Trigger Warnings are just another way for the left to control the speech of others.
You could also say that if you need Trigger Warnings, you don’t belong in college.
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