Home / Fall 2016 / Trigger warnings help: VSU does not require warnings

Trigger warnings help: VSU does not require warnings

Photo Illustration: Kayla Stroud/SPECTATOR

Written by Hunter Terrell, Circulation Manager

The Chronicle of Higher Education submitted an article late August in regard to the University of Chicago’s lack of the trigger warnings and intellectual safe spaces.

The dean of students at UC, John Ellison, signed off on a heavy-worded letter stating that the university has no use of “trigger words” and does not stray away from controversial topics.

Published and sent to the school’s incoming freshman, the letter reassures students that the university is committed to free speech and overall academic freedom. The letter concludes that some courses and professors could “challenge you and even cause discomfort.”

When it comes to Valdosta State, the academic freedom policy is included in the Statutes of VSU.

Last revised in 2007, in a 57paged catalog, there is a chapter dedicated to VSU’s rights regarding academic freedom.

Section one states that teachers are entitled to conduct research on whatever they would like, section two mentions that teachers are entitled to discuss their subject in class and section three concludes that teachers are regular citizens as well as “Officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from censorship but there are obligations imposed.”

Asking students, most people do not know what trigger words are and did not know professors are not obligated to use them.

“I believe trigger words are necessary. You never know how a specific topic could affect someone.” Mollie Stovall, junior public relations major said.

A little more personal, Maddie Townsend, junior art major, said “Being a victim of sexual assault, yes trigger words are definitely appreciated. A topic like sexual assault or violent matters, it can really catch you off guard and it can sometimes make you feel pointed out, even though no one really knows that about you.”

Opposite of Townsend and Stovall, Michael Duren, sophomore history major said “I like that professors don’t have to censor their material. It keeps students engaged and things interesting all together.”

With VSU policy in mind, it’s safe to say, “no trigger words” has been working fine, and should continue to do so.

Professors having free range to speak on whatever they want with little discretion, which keeps classes interesting and controversial.

Our policy is no different than other state institutions like Kennesaw and Georgia State, furthermore declaring that this policy is accurate and well-suited.


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