UVA panelists ponder whether ‘trigger warnings’ are ’empowering’ or ‘alienating’

College Student, Woman, Confused, Book
College Student, Woman, Confused, Book

At a University of Virginia panel last Thursday, panelists discussed a hierarchy of people supported by trigger warnings, noting that trigger warnings sometimes exist for content relating to sexual assault, but not material concerning racism.

Moderator Claire Raymond asked the panelists if there is “a kind of hierarchy of people who are supported and not supported” by trigger warnings.

History professor Jeff Rossman thought so, saying “suppose you’re a student who had an experience with homelessness…we can’t, I don’t think, practically speaking, we can’t sort of have a warning for all of that and yet we are also conveying certain priorities by sort of automatically putting trigger warnings for certain types of material but not for others.”

“I have no idea what one does with that,” Rossman said.

A lack of answers seemed to be a recurring theme with the panelists. Purdom Lindblad, head of grad programs at the UVa Scholars’ Lab, said the debate about trigger warnings and the classes being taught “comes down to a point where we have to ask ‘is it harder to tackle really difficult, complex, horrible material or ignore it out of existence?’…I don’t have the answer.”

Lindblad noted that “the benefits of a trigger warning allow empowerment” but that it could be “potentially alienating” for triggered students to leave classrooms…

Read the full article by Rob Shimshock at CampusReform

Photo credit CollegeDegrees360

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