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#1
So I have been reading from a number of places that a handful of U.S. Universities are or may be implementing "trigger warnings" for certain classes. My first reaction is, if you're 18 and moving off to college you should be mature enough to handle the curriculum?

The policies in question are not just "tell people what is on the curriculum." They may require removal of certain curriculum, and allow students to have a pass on missing required curriculum. To me that seems to stymie good academic discussion.

There are also practical issues. Triggers for PTSD aren't just people talking about topics, but can be sounds, smells, music etc. So, the warnings only potentially ever cover a very narrow field, yet place a fairly heavy burden on the class leader. There is no way for the professor to know if anyone in the class will have an issue, and typically subject matter is explicitly outlined before it is approached in class at the beginning of a semester. Also, the majority of times I've encountered sensitive material in a class (and I realize that's my personal experience) professors will acknowledge this material before hand anyways, making the policy redundant or more heavy-handed than is necessary.

Basically, I'm skeptical that it is necessary, and I think it might be detrimental to academics. The warnings system described seems like the wrong way to deal with what is indeed, a medical issue.

So what do you think? What valuable information can you give about this topic? Obligatory please no poop flinging, constructive responses only and all that.
#2
Sounds like a crap idea to me, and yes I agree in thinking it will be detrimental to academics.

Dumb em down, down.
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#3
The phrase "trigger warning" itself is a trigger lol. I don't have PTSD, but I do get some anxiety from past trauma, and whenever I see the word trigger warning all I think about is past trauma and anxiety.


It seems noble but removal of any curriculum sounds like a bad idea. Removing taboo subjects from academic discussion is just bad. A warning and indication of the course criteria may be enough.
#6
Quote by ali.guitarkid7
The phrase "trigger warning" itself is a trigger lol. I don't have PTSD, but I do get some anxiety from past trauma, and whenever I see the word trigger warning all I think about is past trauma and anxiety.


It seems noble but removal of any curriculum sounds like a bad idea. Removing taboo subjects from academic discussion is just bad. A warning and indication of the course criteria may be enough.

This is how I feel

Whenever I hear trigger warning I just think of all the things that would cause me to start stressing, lol. And what is considered good enough for a warning? Since it can pretty much be any past experience that can trouble someone.

As you also said, I don't agree with removing curriculum.
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Last edited by WCPhils at May 27, 2014,
#8
Quote by Lord_Doku
Trigger warnings ? What's that, going full-crybaby ?

that's like when some who went through serious trauma has some kind of episode triggered by what they see or hear.


I've only had one teacher who did that and she said we had the option of leaving the class that day if it made us that uncomfortable. It was always the day of and she just told us what might be uncomfortable for some people.
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#9
Quote by Weaponized
Do you have a single source?
Yah I went and looked them up.

Oberlin college was the place with a broad vague policy. You can read it here.

Here's the NY Times article I read originally.

This is all I could find about the California school. I guess they are still in the process of approving a resolution, but the students voted to mandate the requirement of trigger warnings.

What that looks like when it goes into effect I don't know.
#10
Quote by BladeSlinger
that's like when some who went through serious trauma has some kind of episode triggered by what they see or hear.


I've only had one teacher who did that and she said we had the option of leaving the class that day if it made us that uncomfortable. It was always the day of and she just told us what might be uncomfortable for some people.

Oh, I see. Pardon my earlier post then, I did not mean to offend anybody or do anything to upset someone.

But seeing an increasing amount of people using trigger warnings as an tool to warn off criticism, be it just or unjust, or any form of reasonable debate can make it all very confusing.

None of my teachers ever used trigger warnings though. They always believed that they (the teachers) are there to help the students cope with the lectures while trying their best to convey them in a way we (students) understand. Trigger warnings go straight against that.
#11
My teacher never used the term. She gave the disclaimer when we watched some mildly graphic videos on abuse, abortion and a few other things. The abortion one was dramatization but it made me cringe a few times. There was another video with some childbirth and she said we didn't have to if we didn't want to. One girl in there had miscarried a couple years before so I could understand that but she didn't leave.
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Why would you spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn about a language you already speak? It was over before it even started dude

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brot pls
#12
Quote by seanlang01
Yah I went and looked them up.

Oberlin college was the place with a broad vague policy. You can read it here.

Here's the NY Times article I read originally.

This is all I could find about the California school. I guess they are still in the process of approving a resolution, but the students voted to mandate the requirement of trigger warnings.

What that looks like when it goes into effect I don't know.

Why shouldn't we accommodate people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? It doesn't hurt you, but it hurts them a lot. How old are you by the way?
#13
Quote by Weaponized
Why shouldn't we accommodate people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? It doesn't hurt you, but it hurts them a lot. How old are you by the way?
Look, you aren't interested in having an actual discussion about this. You are presenting your questions in a manner that suggests I have stated the opposite at some point. You're dodging the topic and looking to accuse me of being insensitive with loaded questions. And to top it off you ask how old I am as if that is a relevant bit of information. If you don't want to have a constructive conversation, just leave.
#14
Quote by BladeSlinger
My teacher never used the term. She gave the disclaimer when we watched some mildly graphic videos on abuse, abortion and a few other things. The abortion one was dramatization but it made me cringe a few times. There was another video with some childbirth and she said we didn't have to if we didn't want to. One girl in there had miscarried a couple years before so I could understand that but she didn't leave.

This is what I was thinking about. I'm in medicine so there is the potential for a lot of things that could cause people stress and to have unease. I understand that, and have some things that make me uncomfortable, but at the same time, it's stuff the students need to know. I think the warnings are fine (I've seen them used) but not at the expense of education. Most college classrooms are professional and supportive environments and if people are uncomfortable the professors and other students are there to help them.
___

Quote by The_Blode
she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
Last edited by WCPhils at May 27, 2014,
#15
Quote by Weaponized
Why shouldn't we accommodate people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? It doesn't hurt you, but it hurts them a lot. How old are you by the way?

Yes we should accommodate people with PTSD.

Oh, and trigger warning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS1dO0JC2EE

I don't think a teenage temper is PTSD compared to this.
#16
I don't think they should remove things from the curriculum.

That being said, it just seems like general politeness as a professor to say "Hey the stuff in today's class might be graphic in ______ way, if you need to leave during a scene or discussion please do so."


I mean, I've had to leave class before because of a panic attack during a discussion or a scene of a movie. It's happened a lot less over time but the professor has always been very helpful when I come back after class and goes over anything I could have missed. It's just difficult to stop when it already starts and the best way to deal with it is to remove myself from the situation momentarily and not distract everyone or feel like I'm bothering someone.

In college I fell into a shitty situation where the guy who raped me a few years earlier had a class across the hall from me, at a point when I thought he had already graduated. I saw him often because of that, unfortunately, even if briefly, and wanted to punch him or tell him how much he ****ed me up or something but I couldn't. One day I had to take a writing quiz that took the entirety of the class period. I happened to be sitting in a seat that had a straight shot of visibility to his seat in the classroom across the hall. I couldn't focus and started feeling uncomfortable being in the classroom at all with all the quiet, concentrated students so I asked if I could write my quiz outside and come back before the class period ended. My professor was very understanding and didn't even bother asking why, because we both didn't see this as disruptive in some way.
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#17
See I thought that trigger warnings were just "This section of the course deals with some graphic depictions of rape" and a student has been raped, then they can be aware and not attend if it's going to adversely affect them.
OUT OF ORDER
#18
Quote by WCPhils
Most college classrooms are professional and supportive environments and if people are uncomfortable the professors and other students are there to help them.
Right. I think it is polite to give fair warning and most already do.

And, personally, I think it shifts responsibility to the wrong party (the professor for having said the wrong thing) when the person who has the issue should know if they are ready and able to handle mature themes in school. If you genuinely didn't, then that's an accident. If you knew you couldn't handle it, then responsibility is yours to seek treatment or refrain from classes until you can. The teacher or professor cannot ever know perfectly who or what will cause a reaction, though they should try to avoid it. But, if they don't, they shouldn't be held accountable for something they can't know.

EDIT: This thread is good and informative so far.
Last edited by seanlang01 at May 27, 2014,
#19
I think 'Trigger warnings' may be a misleading title for this thread, TS.

You don't seem to have a problem with trigger warnings, but rather a censoring of the curriculum. A trigger warning is the opposite : if you are warning someone about something that is censored, then you're not really warning them about anything, because that 'thing' doesn't exist Trigger warnings are put into place so that you don't have to censor and so that students can be responsible for their own actions rather than taken by surprise once class already starts.
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#20
I think that students should be responsible enough, by university age, to determine whether "X topic" or "Y topic" is too disturbing for them. That said, I do appreciate it when professors mention certain topics may be graphic.

For instance, I took a philosophy of art course (300 level course). Basically, we discussed what various philosophers said about art and how to interpret various mediums of art. One class period covered the "X Portfolio" by Robert Mapplethorpe. (You can do a google image search yourself.) The images in class weren't too graphic, by my estimation. But I can see why it was a good idea for the professor to warn us about it beforehand.
#21
Quote by seanlang01
Look, you aren't interested in having an actual discussion about this. You are presenting your questions in a manner that suggests I have stated the opposite at some point. You're dodging the topic and looking to accuse me of being insensitive with loaded questions. And to top it off you ask how old I am as if that is a relevant bit of information. If you don't want to have a constructive conversation, just leave.
I'm not gonna waste my time engaging in a discussion with someone that doesn't know better. I'm not dodging anything dude I'm giving my honest opinion and you are dodging my point by saying I'm not making the points you want me to make. THIS WHOLE THING is about sensitivity buddy.
#22
Quote by seanlang01
Right. I think it is polite to give fair warning and most already do.

And, personally, I think it shifts responsibility to the wrong party (the professor for having said the wrong thing) when the person who has the issue should know if they are ready and able to handle mature themes in school. If you genuinely didn't, then that's an accident. If you knew you couldn't handle it, then responsibility is yours to seek treatment or refrain from classes until you can. The teacher or professor cannot ever know perfectly who or what will cause a reaction, though they should try to avoid it. But, if they don't, they shouldn't be held accountable for something they can't know.

EDIT: This thread is good and informative so far.

Who are these people turning up knowing full well they're gonna break down?
#23
X portfolio makes me wet. i was never warned.

will, check your pm's
i don't know why i feel so dry
#25
Quote by Weaponized
I'm not gonna waste my time engaging in a discussion with someone that doesn't know better. I'm not dodging anything dude I'm giving my honest opinion and you are dodging my point by saying I'm not making the points you want me to make. THIS WHOLE THING is about sensitivity buddy.

Well you should have put a trigger warning on your post, man.

seanlang01 can't be responsible for how your posts make him feel without proper warning and it's natural to feel sensitive about things that you care about or have been hurt by in the past (like internet posts).
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#26
This is eye roll worthy.

If you can't pass/take required coarse work for the class then you should either change your major or just accept that college isn't right for you.

The fact that high schools teach "it's college or bust" to students is one of the bigger problems we face in our education system. There are plenty of other options for students and these are not talked about enough or are placed on the wayside.
I haz gotten gud
#27
Quote by ApatheticMe
This is eye roll worthy.

If you can't pass/take required coarse work for the class then you should either change your major or just accept that college isn't right for you.

The fact that high schools teach "it's college or bust" to students is one of the bigger problems we face in our education system. There are plenty of other options for students and these are not talked about enough or are placed on the wayside.

awwww shit dat eye roll mang ya u said it


also wow X Portfolio I didn't know you could fit a foot in there
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#28
Quote by vintage x metal
I think 'Trigger warnings' may be a misleading title for this thread, TS.
Yeah, but that's the term being used by advocates, so I'm just the messenger ya know? And I honestly don't keep up on this stuff much since I'm out of school, but circumstances are such that academia is a near daily part of my life so I'm looking for more info.

That being said, the rejected Oberlin policy did contain political language and from what I gather that is inextricably tied to the feminist founding of the term "trigger warning." (That's just my perspective, I could be wrong so don't get to excited if that's not totally accurate) So anyway, I figured to keep the topic as is, since it may or may not be of consequence.
#29
Quote by seanlang01
Yeah, but that's the term being used by advocates, so I'm just the messenger ya know? And I honestly don't keep up on this stuff much since I'm out of school, but circumstances are such that academia is a near daily part of my life so I'm looking for more info.

That being said, the rejected Oberlin policy did contain political language and from what I gather that is inextricably tied to the feminist founding of the term "trigger warning." (That's just my perspective, I could be wrong so don't get to excited if that's not totally accurate) So anyway, I figured to keep the topic as is, since it may or may not be of consequence.

I understand that the policy may use 'trigger warning' as the language surrounding possible censorship.

What I'm saying though, is that you seem to have an issue with the censorship that this particular advocacy is going for as opposed to the actual warnings themselves. You don't seem to have a problem with trigger warnings. Censorship is not a trigger warning, even if the advocacy is mislabeling it as such in their policies.


Btw could you post some primary information on this stuff? Like articles, statements, etc.
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#30
Quote by willT08
Who are these people turning up knowing full well they're gonna break down?
It's a hypothetical about where responsibility may lie. It's not an indictment of anyone.

Quote by Weaponized
I'm not dodging anything dude......

Why shouldn't we accommodate people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
I never said anything about whether or not they should be accommodated. "Why should we not accommodate?" is leading because I never said anything about whether or not someone should be accommodated. This discussion is about whether there needs to be a specific policy in Universities regarding "trigger warnings" and to what length are they appropriate. That is indeed off topic.

And, you wrote that in response to the sources you asked me to provide. So, why did you ask for the sources, and what were your thoughts on them? It seems like you didn't really care if I had anything to say.

Instead of scolding, tell me precisely why we should accommodate people. That is constructive discussion. Don't come in with caps lock and tell me I don't know better.

I'll forget it. Let's start over and try to be civil please. Tell me your thoughts.
#31
Quote by vintage x metal
I understand that the policy may use 'trigger warning' as the language surrounding possible censorship.

What I'm saying though, is that you seem to have an issue with the censorship that this particular advocacy is going for as opposed to the actual warnings themselves. You don't seem to have a problem with trigger warnings. Censorship is not a trigger warning, even if the advocacy is mislabeling it as such in their policies.


Btw could you post some primary information on this stuff? Like articles, statements, etc.
Well yeah, why would I mind that a professor warns his students of a potentially upsetting topic?

I think the other part of it I find uncomfortable is the expectation that the professor should be required to give a warning. It's minor and just a philosophical difference I have. I think it is proper to do so, but I disagree that there should be a policy requiring it, because it creates an expectation to entitlement. The entitlement being that others will always consider your condition, and this isn't possible in life. It's nice that people should, but you can't hold it against them if they don't. I understand that others may feel differently. The fact that many Universities are government entities affects my opinion on this as well. I really don't care too much what some private school is doing.

That's pretty much all I have to say about it.

I'll try to find some other primary sources of the proposed policies.
#32
it's not like any student is going to ever be genuinely surprised if some humanities professor shows something that might go outside somebody's comfort zone, you can usually see it coming. and students should be wise to this. i think this idea is a waste of money.
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#33
Maybe America should stop fighting pointless wars for nothing but money then they wouldn't have a mass scale epidemic of soldiers with PTSD, maybe prosecuting rapists might be a good start? I've said it a million times and i'll say it again, AMERICA IS ****EDDDDD!
#34
If it's on a curriculum that somebody has willingly chose to study then why would there be a 'trigger warning' in the first place? The 'student' must already know to an extent what sort of things are going to be in there.
It would be like applying for a job in a fast food place and turning up on the first day saying "I can't do that, beef burgers give me 'nam flashbacks".


Students receiving a 'pass' on certain subjects they haven't actually worked on is also complete dumbassery but, I feel the reason for that is pretty obvious.


The closest thing I've witnessed to this is back in high school during science class. We had to dissect an animal heart (either cow or pig) and the teacher said that anybody who didn't want to do it, such as vegetarians, didn't have to.
The difference I see here? It was a class full of 15 year olds who were forced to be in that class since Science was a compulsory class on the curriculum. It's a lot different to Universities where you pick what classes you do and your education there is likely going to have effect on your career.

I don't exactly want to be in hospital in 20 years time having a heart operation, and whilst I'm slowly going to sleep from the drugs I hear:
"So what do we do with the heart again? I kind of missed all that part of the curriculum because of 'trigger warnings' yet got a pass anyway. Eh, I'll figure it out as I go along. Hand me that spork!"
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#35
Quote by maowcat
Maybe America should stop fighting pointless wars for nothing but money then they wouldn't have a mass scale epidemic of soldiers with PTSD, maybe prosecuting rapists might be a good start? I've said it a million times and i'll say it again, AMERICA IS ****EDDDDD!

'Cause Canada hasn't supported the US (in both troops & diplomatic support) in the last 20 years.


But, that said, what the hell do this have to do with the topic, other than the fact that you included PTSD? Oh, and I guess the only people who EVER get PTSD are soldiers?


Jeese...are you 15, man?!
#36
If something traumatic happening to some guy is relevant to their chosen course of study, why would the guy be studying it if he is so traumatized by it? Was a PTSD victim from fighting in Iraq not expecting to see slides of photographs of dead bodies when they enrolled on their war history major?

The whole idea is silly. People should be expected to have common sense.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at May 27, 2014,
#37
Quote by vintage x metal

Btw could you post some primary information on this stuff? Like articles, statements, etc.
I posted a link to the rejected policy Oberlin had proposed on the first page. A quick google search has not turned up a UC San Bernardino primary. I dunno if it hasn't been written yet or what. I'll look harder later, but work stuff has come up so I'm really busy right now.

Also, for clarity to some people just posting in here, this is about explicit university policies requiring warnings, not the broader idea of trigger warnings.
#38
Quote by link no1
If it's on a curriculum that somebody has willingly chose to study then why would there be a 'trigger warning' in the first place? The 'student' must already know to an extent what sort of things are going to be in there.

students know an outline of what they will be learning, rarely the details
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#39
there's such a wide range of things that people can recall memories to, I don't know how 'trigger' warnings can be very practical without an excessively long list for every class.

best just to keep it to the casual warnings by lecturers when they are showing some extreme media.

then again I had a business course that was devoid of anything that might be a 'trigger' so I dunno how bad it can get. but if we're going to start putting 'trigger' warnings on classes, we might as well put warning stickers on books and newspapers too?


didn't read the article cause I don't care enough, but wanna poop out my opinion like a good forum user.
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#40
I don't see why it's an issue to say "hey this class deals with some serious stuff" or whatever. Or why people are so against that.
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