When you were in school, did your classes have “content warnings”?
Probably not, but these are the days of tremendous triggering.
Therefore, at the University of Washington, student government leaders are imploring the administration to create warnings for courses.
Earlier this month, the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) approved a bill calling for warnings prior to “readings or any other classroom materials that include sensitive topics including but not limited to sexual assault, child abuse, physical assault, racially-motivated violence, abuse, and suicide.”
Legislation sponsor Eva Hudak told campus outlet The Daily she’d witnessed such topics being addressed with no warning at all:
“I’ve noticed… professors showing graphic images and launching into discussion around racially-motivated violence and sexual assault without warning.”
Per The Daily, another reason for the bill is the unequal impact “graphic content has on students who have experienced trauma symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD.”
“In an environment without content warnings,” it says, “graphic and violent material can severely affect these students’ ability to perform in class. Encountering traumatic content can evoke involuntary physical or psychological responses.”
Eva believes she shouldn’t have to be worried…about being worried:
“I deserve to be able to participate in discussions without having to deal with physical anxiety symptoms, and so does everybody else.”
It’s certainly an era of warning labels.
Last June, HBO temporarily removed Gone With the Wind from its library, in order to add in “historical context” for viewers.
Two months later, the network provided a 3-minute preface to Blazing Saddles.
In February, Disney Plus added a disclaimer to The Muppets.
As for warnings preceding mere description, it seems a natural course, in light of the culture.
Years ago, children were told sticks and stones could break their bones, but not words.
These days, we’re informed that nouns and verbs are violence.
If that’s true, people should be able to opt out.
However, as stated above, ASUW’s proposal relates to more than words.
Other kinds of content warrant caution, and such is the case for PSYCH 210: The Diversity of Human Sexuality.
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