Sharing Perspectives: Trigger Warnings

With trigger warnings and content warnings in the news lately, we thought the time was right to begin a conversation about this issue at Sewanee. On October 3rd and 4th, faculty joined Associate Dean Elizabeth Skomp and Director of the Wellness Center, Nicole Noffsinger-Frazier, to share their perspectives. Prof. Noffsinger-Frazier started the discussion by presenting the clinical definition of a trigger response as originally used in the context of PTSD. Some faculty do utilize a type of content warning in their classes, although the details vary. Some said they put a statement on their syllabi, while others send emails or give a verbal “heads up” before potentially triggering material is discussed or shown in class. Faculty also shared stories about circumstances in which students had asked for warnings and how they handled the requests. After some excellent discussion, Dean Skomp reiterated that these fora are merely the beginning; we will continue to discuss this issue throughout the year. If you are interested in this topic but could not attend either event, please let her know.