Trigger Warnings and Classroom Climate

For the 2015 – 2016 year, Leanna Parsons (Chancellor’s Undergraduate Intern) has been conducting a survey of selected faculty members on trigger warnings in higher education. She was inspired to learn about the debate surrounding trigger warnings after taking an upper division Legal Studies course, and discussing the issue with her peers. Upon starting her internship, she wanted to know more about what UCSC faculty have to say. In the meantime, check out the links below to read about the issue.

If you are interested in the project or have questions, contact Leanna Parsons at

Stay tuned for the results, they will be published here at the end of Spring 2016.

A quick definition of a trigger warning from Oxford Dictionaries: A statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc., alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material (often used to introduce a description of such content): “There probably should be a trigger warning for people dealing with grief.”

The University of California Learning Center uses the following content warning in emails regarding sexual harassment trainings: “This course contains content involving sexual violence and may be triggering to some individuals.”

Below are links to articles that outline arguments against using trigger warnings:

Below are links to articles that outline arguments in favor of using trigger warnings:

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