Advertisement

Trigger Warnings: A Gun to the Head of Academia

  • Greg Lukianoff

Abstract

In May 2014, the New York Times called attention to a new arrival on the college campus: trigger warnings.1 Seemingly overnight, colleges and universities across America had begun fielding student demands that their professors issue content warnings before covering any material that might evoke a negative emotional response. By way of illustration, the Times article (titled ‘Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm’) pointed to a Rutgers student’s op-ed requesting trigger warnings for The Great Gatsby, which apparently ‘possesses a variety of scenes that reference gory, abusive and misogynistic violence’, and Mrs Dalloway, which the student called ‘a disturbing narrative’ that discusses ‘suicidal inclinations’ and ‘post-traumatic experiences’.2 The article generated significant discussion, with readers questioning why college students would need trigger warnings — which are generally billed as a way to help those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious mental-health condition — before reading the type of material that any college student should expect to encounter on any college campus.

Keywords

Sexual Assault College Campus Free Speech Physical Security Emotional Appeal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Greg Lukianoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)USA

Personalised recommendations