Trigger Warnings and the College Campus Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1750 Words
Date:  2022-12-18

A trigger warning is a declaration made before sharing a possibly disturbing content. The content may entail graphic references to subjects like self-harm, eating conditions, sexual exploitation. The disturbing content may also take the form of video footage, image, a piece of text or audio clip. Trigger warnings originally evolved in the internet community and were intended for victims of sexual assault and soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They were warning that would let a victim know beforehand that trauma might be triggered in case they continued viewing or reading the disturbing content. In an academic setting, the professor delivers the trigger warnings to permit students to prepare emotionally for the content or to make a decision of foregoing their interaction with the content (Flaherty 1). The paper supports that professors should issue trigger warnings for sensitive material to the students.

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Supporters of trigger warnings argue that some course contents can affect the health and academic performance of students who have encountered conforming traumas in their own lives. Such students may not yet be ready to deal with personal trauma in an academic setting, They decide to avoid it now so that they can handle it more effectively at a later date-maybe after they have established necessary resources, counseling or supports. Other students may actually be ready to face a personal trauma in an academic setting but are likely to benefit from a forewarning of particular subjects so that they can ready themselves before taking part in a classroom debate about it. When arguing from this viewpoint, trigger warnings provide students with increased independence over their learning and are an approval that the professor cares about their wellbeing. Some proponents in higher education contend that offering students with trigger warnings means taking student seriously. It means that the needs of the student are prioritized and prevent them from experiencing emotional trauma (Johnston 1). In certain cases, it is important to provide information to the students concerning racial or culturally insensitive material. An open discussion or trigger warning is essential to avoid offending another party.

Advocates of trigger warnings argue that it is crucial in maintaining safe learning communities and does not limit free expression. They argue that trigger warnings do not infringe free speech and do not hinder a student's ability to hold and express his or her views. Trigger warnings provide sincerity to the people who call for a warning and appear to consider the distress faced by students who are uncomfortable with disturbing content. It is simple to establish a stint about political correctness when there is a trigger warning. It is also easy to elaborate the subject without including the viewpoints of underrepresented groups. Supporters reject the implication that those calling for warnings are over insensitive or academically lazy or creating a problem for individual reasons. It has been widely noted that survivors of trauma deal with 'hypervigilance' which can result in distress, fear, flashbacks and more which can be triggered by upsetting learning material (Lukianoff 1). Therefore, it is important to consider that perspective.

Professors should incorporate trigger warnings for sensitive material because most policies suggest instead of mandating warnings before the upsetting content is introduced. Warnings also tend to offer a psychologically safe way of students to process the sensitive learning material. Therefore, supporters of trigger warnings contend that the push for safe spaces and warnings is not inimical to the liberty of speech or academic freedom. In reality, those kinds of interpositions are consistent with such liberties as they permit students to engage in the debate of sensitive material when they otherwise may not be able to do so. Some possibly disturbing topics appear de rigueur for any intelligent student; a reading about assisted suicide in a course on elder law may be a challenging topic to teach. Warned or not, students must be expected to comprehend the content, whether it is disturbing or not. Given the significant variations among students in their attitudes, personality, and experiences; trauma predictions remains nothing but guesswork (Mogilevsky 1). Therefore, a trigger warning in any learning content should be incorporated by professors.

Professors should also look at this contentious topic in a counselors' perspective. Counselors are responsible for addressing the students mental fitness requirements. In their view, trigger warnings may be practical in modern college campuses and the objection may appear from a basic miscomprehension of the resolve of trigger warnings. Some professors have held the credence that trigger warnings stop students from dealing with problematic or rough content. However, advocates argue that triggering material is not just something that might offend learners. Being uncomfortable with subjects is very different from having a suggestive mental fitness reaction. Trigger warnings can also assist students who are recuperating from mental conditions, eating disorders and suicidal tendencies. When an individual has a history of any of the above conditions, being unpredictably exposed to images or material that deals with that history can result in harm or even relapse. When an individual is recovering from a suicidal urges, reading depictions of a person who is suicidal is very sensitizing (AAUP 1). Addressing the issues of students who may be negatively influenced by disturbing content does not mean that colleges need to restrict the debate of potentially triggering subjects like war, rape, alcohol, murder or racism.

Professors should comprehend that trigger warnings do not mean that learners can exempt themselves from finishing parts of the coursework. In fact, a student who is sincerely concerned about being re-traumatized by forthcoming course material would privately inform the professor of this issue. The professor would them accommodate the individual by suggesting optional material or a substitute learning activity, as with an accommodation required by a learning or physical disability. Supporters of trigger warnings argue that they do not intend to glorify victimhood rather than approve the life experiences of certain members of the community and permit students to make informed decisions. When a student feels upset by memories connected to a certain topic that they feel they cannot engage in, a process crucial to liberal arts education is disrupted. Trigger warnings are crucial approaches in eliminating these circumstances (Flaherty 1). Preferably, students who are part of an educational institution ought to be challenged and compelled to express and safeguard their viewpoint. However, to establish an effective discussion, it is important to ensure that the students are comfortable in their participation.

Professors should note that it is crucial to issue a warning to disturbing material because it is the essence of a trigger warning. A trigger warning ought to function the same way that it is distinct: a warning to readers who might require time to prepare (physically or mentally) so that they can effectively participate in the challenging and emotional earning material in an organized space instead of being blindsided in a public space with their colleagues. A trigger warning is a care strategy because it provides students with an opportunity to prepare themselves from what may be hard or traumatizing reading. Numerous mental health professionals note that trigger warnings are not the ultimate solution in the college setting. Instead, they contend that trigger warning is an essential part of a bigger treatment plan for a certain type of trauma. It is notable that college students may be far more traumatized that many people may think. Sexual assault victims are likely to be triggered while reading a detailed account of rape throughout their coursework (Johnston 1). Thus, it is essential to prepare them early through trigger warning.


Critics argue that trigger warnings pointlessly shield students from the usual harsh certainties of the world with which scholars need to engage. Critics are apprehensive that trigger warnings create a precedent of making professors or colleges legally obligatory for safeguarding students from emotional trauma. Others contend that it is intolerable to predict all the subjects that may be possibly triggering for students. Critics of trigger warnings note that higher education is founded in confronting uncomfortable ideologies and experiences. They also note that it is almost impossible in classes with students with varying sensibilities to define what necessitates a trigger warning. Critics further argue that there is no way a particular issue or subject may make a student uncomfortable, angry or offended to provide enough reason for a student to be exempted from the debate with no penalty to their grade. They argue that the trigger warnings are censoring students education and also tearing down everything that higher education stands for. The college education is meant for enriching students' insight, critical thinking and open them to other perspectives (Freeman et al 1). However, this cannot be attained when students want to observe no views instead of their own. Critics note that the current generation of college students has become way too subtle and narrow-minded.

Conclusively, trigger warnings in colleges have become a very controversial subject. The paper supports that professors should issue trigger warnings for sensitive material to the students. Proponents of trigger warnings claim that some course materials can impact the wellbeing and academic performance of students. They also argue that trigger warnings are important to uphold safe learning communities and do not restrict freedom of expression. Professors should incorporate the warnings in their instruction because most guidelines propose that students need to learn in a safe environment. Proponents also argue that professors should look at sensitive material in the perspectives of the counselor. Just like the way counselors are concerned with mental health needs, professors need to borrow from them and ensure students learn in a healthy environment. Professors should also comprehend that trigger warnings do not exempt students from certain coursework. It is just a way of making them aware that some topics may be sensitive to them because of their experiences. However, critics argue that trigger warnings are not important and are focused on making the students lazy. They also argue the professors are left with the sole responsibility of addressing children traumas.

Works Cited

AAUP. On Trigger Warnings. (2014). Retrieved from: on date 6/4/2019

Flaherty, Collen. Trigger Unhappy. (2014). Retrieved from: on date 6/4/2019

Freeman, Elizabeth, et al. Trigger Warnings Are Flawed. (2014). Retrieved from: on date 6/4/2019

Johnston, Angus. Why I'll Add a Trigger Warning. (2014). Retrieved from: on date 6/4/2019

Lukianoff, Greg and Haidt, Jonathan. The Coddling of the American Mind. (2015). Retrieved from: on date 6/4/2019

Mogilevsky, Miri. Trigger warnings are not censorship. (2014). Retrieved from: https://www...

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Trigger Warnings and the College Campus Essay Example. (2022, Dec 18). Retrieved from

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