Trigger Warnings In Higher Education

Decent Essays
Academic freedom has a long history with higher education in the United States and has impacted institutional mission statements, as well as the role of faculty members (Kaplin & Lee, 2014, pg. 286). Kaplin and Lee argue that academic freedom has definitions based in education, as well as law. When examining the educational component of the definition, they write, "educators usually use the term with reference to the customs and practices by which, and the aspirations with which, faculties may best flourish in their work as teachers and researchers" (pg. 286). The practice and policies pertaining to trigger warnings may help to further this, as the definition makes reference to "flourishing as teachers". One way to flourish as a teacher is…show more content…
Findings from an Inside Higher Ed article share that trigger warnings are, "already having a chilling effect on their teaching and pedagogy" (as cited in Lukianoff and Haidt, 2015, pg. 15). In some instances, professors have seen that trigger warning practices limit what they are able to teach and how they are able to teach, and in some instances feeling as though some material must be completely eliminated from the course. This could result in faculty feeling as though they are not able to fully complete their job. Additionally, it could result in turbulent relationships with institutional administrators. Some professors have reported that deans and administrators have reached out to them regarding the material that they taught, regardless of whether or not they used a trigger warning (as cited in Lukianoff and Haidt). Depending on the extent of the trigger warning practices and policies, some faculty members may feel as though they cannot teach without fear that they of being reported to administrators. This could be especially troublesome given the content information and discussions taking place in academic settings. Justice William J. Brenner, Jr. described the classroom being a "marketplace of ideas" (as cited in O'Neil, 2016, pg. 42). Some may argue that trigger warning practices and policies would have the potential to alter the role that the classroom serves, with the risk of eliminating the role of classrooms as being a location for the free exchange of thoughts and
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