“Including trigger warnings is not a form of criticism or censorship of content. In addition, it does not restrict academic freedom but simply requests the respect and acknowledgement of the affect of triggering content on students with PTSD, both diagnosed and undiagnosed.” -UCSB Resolution 02262014:61
(Santa Barbara, CA) In February 2014, the Associated Student Senate at the University of California at Santa Barbara recognized an issue that individuals in their student body were facing: triggering material.
The issue was brought to the surface when Bailey Loverin, a student at Santa Barbara, was shown a graphic film depicting rape. She herself had been a victim of sexual abuse, and although she had not felt threatened by the film, she had approached the professor to suggest that students should have been warned.
This issue ultimately resulted in a resolution being passed by the student government body that was entitled, “A Resolution to Mandate Warnings for Triggering Content in Academic Settings (02262014:61).” Click Here to See the Full Document.
The document describes the staggering statistics related to sexual assault and similar crimes and the re-trauma issues (also known as secondary trauma) faced by victims.
Whereas: UCSB CARE (Campus Advocacy Resources & Education) reports that: 1 in 4 college women will be sexually assaulted during her academic career,; 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence; and 1 in 33 men will experience attempted or completed rape. Therefore this is a pertinent and widespread issue that should be acknowledged on campus. (maybe, but this may be better as a separate whereas at the end)Whereas: Triggers are not limited to sexual assault and violence.
Whereas: Trigger Warnings should be used for content not covered by the rating system used by the MPAA or TV warnings (such as contains violence, nudity or, language).Whereas: The current suggested list of Trigger Warnings includes Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, Self-Injurious Behavior, Suicide, Graphic Violence, Pornography, Kidnapping, and Graphic Depictions of Gore.
Whereas: Triggers are a symptom of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Whereas: UCSB Disabled Students Program recognizes PTSD as a disability.
Whereas: Having memories or flashbacks triggered can cause the person severe emotional, mental, and even physical distress. These reactions can affect a student’s ability to perform academically.Whereas: College level courses may contain materials with mature content. These particularly affect students if material is being read in the classroom or a film is being screened, as the student cannot choose to stop being exposed to the material.
Whereas: Including trigger warnings is not a form of criticism or censorship of content. In addition, it does not restrict academic freedom but simply requests the respect and acknowledgement of the affect of triggering content on students with PTSD, both diagnosed and undiagnosed.
Whereas: Being informed well in advance of triggering content allows students to avoid a potentially triggering situation without public attention. Having a trigger warning on a syllabus allows a student the choice to be present gives a student advance notice of possible triggers and the choice to be present or not instead of having to leave in the middle of a class or lecture.
CVUSD Policy 6161.1 Comparison to UCSB Resolution 02262014:61
- Allowed students to receive an alternate literature assignment upon request when material is graphic in nature.
- Provided advance notice about books with graphic content through the class syllabus with asterisk warnings for parents & students
- Formed a Parent Committee (selected by each CVUSD Trustees) that asked for feedback about literature from the community
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