Hey U of Chicago: I’m an academic & survivor. I use trigger warnings in my classes. Here’s why.
E Price

This was an interesting and helpful article. It got me thinking about a couple of things. First, there seems to be a significant difference between the model you laid out, of students requesting warnings on their particular triggers, and the common perception of trigger warnings requiring a teacher to avoid every *potentially* triggering topic. Given the breadth of possible triggers you’ve highlighted, it’s clearly impossible to avoid every one, which makes doing so a great strawman. You’ve also emphasized the value of warning that a trigger *is coming* so a student can prepare, as opposed to the strawman requirement to never present the triggering material at all.

I hope (and suspect) it was these strawman the UC letter was rejecting. It seems obvious to me that any reasonable teacher is going to try hard to support a student who has requested accommodation to a particular trigger for that student.

But that then raises the ever-present question of *how far* one should go in accommodating a special need. If a student in my math class told me that apples were a trigger for them, it would be easy for me to avoid that particular topic and I would be happy to do so. If they told me that people writing equations on the board was a trigger we’d have a problem, because that’s integral to the class. Of course the most challenging questions relate to the discussion of painful and controversial topics such as the boundaries of war crimes or, closer to home, abortion, rape, or police violence. How does one decide when accommodation undercuts the fundamental goals of the class?

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