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Warnings trigger academic fireworks

Thursday, December 10, 2015

by Deane Morrison 

The question seems simple: Should professors warn students that a course contains material that may trigger a traumatic reaction in some of them?

In the past year or two, the halls of academe have echoed with debates over so-called “trigger warnings.” One side—often represented by students—has advocated for them in order to protect those who have been traumatized by rape, assault, combat, or other experiences and ought not to be forced to relive them.

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Correction

Thursday, December 10, 2015
Yesterday the University erroneously posted a letter from a number of student leaders regarding an ongoing student disciplinary process. Per University guidelines and under federal and state law, student disciplinary matters are private educational data, and we cannot publicly comment on or post the specifics of any ongoing process that may result in influencing the final outcome.

We can note that, subsequent to receiving the letter, Provost Hanson and Vice Provost and Dean of Students Danita Brown Young met with student leaders to discuss the issue. For more about the disciplinary process and hearings and appeals, interested individuals are encouraged to visit the Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity's website.  

While the University is unable to comment on the specifics of any disciplinary process (either ongoing or after processes are concluded), individual students, staff, and faculty are not prohibited from sharing their thoughts and concerns on their own websites and social media outlets. 

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"Perspectives" stories are the views and opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the University of Minnesota.