This is actually a great proposal from Cornell professors Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams and Emory University professor Scott O. Lilienfeld.

Together, they wrote this piece for Inside Higher Ed:

The One-Time-Only Trigger Warning

The trigger-warning debate presents faculty members and administrators with a difficult decision: Should they prioritize defending free speech or helping students feel emotionally safe?

The impetus for trigger warnings is a series of communications from the U.S. Department of Education advocating for protective learning environments. But to many people, pushback against trigger warnings and safe spaces is important because institutions should not shield students from uncomfortable messages, especially those challenging students’ own ideas. Parties concerned with trigger warnings include faculty groups such as the American Association of University Professors, which see warnings as interfering with core goals of education and infringing on free speech and academic freedom…

The One-Time-Only Trigger Warning

With these considerations in mind, we propose that the following trigger warning be given to students on their first day of college. We provisionally suggest that it be termed the One-Time-Only Trigger Warning:

“Over the course of the next four years you will be encountering a number of topics that you may find emotionally challenging, even difficult. If some of this stuff makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s perfectly normal, and we encourage you to talk to us and your friends about it. But bear in mind that a liberal arts education is designed to confront you with things that challenge and at times even threaten your worldviews. So if you feel intellectually or emotionally disturbed by what you learn in class, don’t assume that you should be concerned. It may only mean that you are engaging with novel perspectives, which is what college is all about.”


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