Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces
TriggerWarnings and Safe Spaces
Theuse of “Trigger Warnings” at colleges has become a topic ofnational debate. It is debated on whether trigger warnings offerprotections for victims of distress or spoil students with highsensitivity issues regarding life experiences. This paper seeks todiscuss an argument on whether colleges should have places where someviews cannot be aired, especially if they are deemed offensive orcreate disagreement.
Importanceof Trigger Warnings
Thefaculty at college argues that trigger warnings are necessary becausethey offer protection to fragile students who are victims of trauma.They claim that trigger warnings help to alleviate psychologicaldiscomfort among vulnerable students. It helps students to preparethemselves for the lesson or choose to skip class or ask for adifferent assignment thus protects them from unnecessary triggers.Exposure of students with personal difficulties to controversialcontent could be distressing them and thus affect the emotionally aswell as their education engagement. Therefore, it is important forprofessors to grant requests to students to be protected fromparticular discussion or readings that can result in emotional andpsychological distress (Schmidt 2).
Onthe other hand, others argue that trigger warnings are not necessarybecause they spoil students who have become highly sensitive to lifeexperiences. It is claimed that "The presumption that studentsneed to be protected rather than challenged in a classroom is at onceinfantilizing and anti-intellectual” (Schmidt 6). It is argued thatpreventing students from exposure to the triggers affects theirpreparations to the life stresses that they may encounter later inlife. Moreover, it is perceived as a threat to academic freedomwhereby students and faculty members can speak freely. Therefore,they suggest that the requests for trigger warnings should be grantedonly for the purpose of providing an individual with space or time toprocess the material. Opting out as a way of preventing exposure tocontroversial instructional is not a solution. Rather, the solutionis to provide support services to these students (Schmidt 3).
Othersargue that trigger warnings can be used for medical reasons and notfor the purpose of responding to the views of fragile students onissues affecting their lives. Students with the need for triggerwarnings can be provided with therapy in forming accommodations.However, offering formal accommodations can present significantchallenges such as students may not be comfortable to seek to medicalaccommodations, lack the recent documentation to prove that a personhas a mental health condition or the complaints of sexual assaultmany falls on deaf ears (Schmidt 4).
Mypersonal stand on safe spaces and Trigger warnings is that I am incomplete disagreement. The increasing uses of trigger warnings incolleges are presenting significant challenges to students andfaculty members (Wilson para 5). Professors are struggling on how tocontinue presenting instructional content with sensitivity. “Wecan’t function if we have to warn everybody about every traumatictopic” (Schmidt 7). It poses difficulty to them on how to manageclassroom discussions because they have to traverse through thediscussion to avoid concepts that might be offensive. Some opt toremove the controversial topics altogether. Therefore, triggerwarnings have caused studentstomiss out on important lessons that are crucial in preparing them forprofessional and real life experiences which in turn affect theirability to become informed and responsible citizens (Schmidt 7).
Theincreasing use of trigger warnings in campuses has raised a lot ofdebate. Some argue that it is necessary for protecting the victims ofdistress by providing them with accommodating spaces that help toalleviate their psychological distress. Others argue that it impactsnegatively on the professors who have to struggle to manage sensitivetopics in classroom and students who miss out on the opportunity forbeing informed and prepared for professional and real lifeexperiences that are significant in helping them become responsiblecitizens.
Schmidt,Peter. AFaculty Stand on Trigger Warnings Stir Fears Among Students,2015. Retrieved on 6thApril 2017 fromhttps://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/.
Wilson,Robin. StudentsRequest for Trigger Warnings Grow More Varied,2015. Retrievedon 6thApril 2017 fromhttp://www.socjobrumors.com/topic/students-request-for-trigger-warnings-grow-more-varied-che
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