“Warning an incoming class about the absence of intellectual safe spaces is one thing; providing those spaces is another.”
If you need trigger warnings to discuss sensitive topics, are you really ready for college?
The College Fix reports:
Iowa State professor: Trigger warnings are more needed now than ever before
Dismissing evidence that so-called “trigger warnings” do more harm than good, an Iowa State University professor is arguing that such warnings are more necessary now than ever.
Liberal Arts and Sciences Professor Michael Bugeja, writing in Inside Higher Education, says policies regarding trigger warnings need to be updated because “times have changed.”
“Measuring distress in a clinical experiment is one thing; encouraging discussion about distressing topics over an entire semester is another,” writes Bugeja. “Warning an incoming class about the absence of intellectual safe spaces is one thing; providing those spaces is another. Concerns about threats to academic freedom is one thing; exercising freedom responsibly is another.”
As an example of a trigger warning that works, Bugeja cites campus crime alerts at Iowa State that begin by warning crime victims that the alert itself might be triggering.
“Any recipients of this notice who have been a prior victim of sexual misconduct or assault should be aware the following message could invoke an emotional response,” the alerts begin, adding the intended outcome is to “provide information that promotes safety; facilitate individuals being able to better protect themselves; and describe details regarding the date, location and type of crime involved.”
Earlier this year, Brandeis University even counseled against using the term “trigger warning” because it contained the word “trigger.”
In justifying the need for trigger warnings, Bugeja cites the widely debunked statistic that “one in four undergraduate female students and one in 15 undergraduate male students have been raped through physical force, incapacitation or violence.”
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