Speed Reads

trigger warning: survey results, academia, numbers, college flashbacks

Professors say mandatory trigger warnings would hurt academic freedom

Should professors be required to give students advance warning before assigning, say, Ovid's account of the rape of Persephone? Students at Columbia University made headlines earlier this year when they demanded a trigger warning for the Metamorphoses, and a Yale survey found that 63 percent of American college students agree that instructors should offer such cautions.

But as FiveThirtyEight explains, professors are not on the same page. By a 45 to 17 percent margin, professors said trigger warnings would have a negative effect on classroom dynamics, and even more (63 percent) said they believe requiring warnings would diminish academic freedom.

The survey of members of the Modern Language Association and the College Art Association also found that though more than half of the participating professors had voluntarily cautioned students about the content of assigned readings, even these supporters of the practice opposed instituting a mandatory trigger warning rule at their schools.