Phi Beta Cons


Faculty at American University: No Trigger Warnings

Here is some welcome push-back against the craze for protecting supposedly fragile students with “trigger warnings.” The American University Faculty Senate has approved a resolution that turns thumbs down on this, declaring that it “does not endorse offering ‘trigger warnings’ or otherwise labeling controversial material in such a way that students construe it as an option to ‘opt out’ of engaging with texts or concepts, or otherwise not participating in intellectual inquiries.” The resolution also nails just why this mania is harmful: “Shielding students from controversial material will deter them from becoming critical thinkers and responsible citizens.”

This Volokh Conspiracy post has a link to the full resolution, as well as the interesting origin of the AU stance: the university library had asked the provost if there was any school policy to guide it in anticipation of requests from students that potentially scary books come with warnings. At least the faculty senate is now on record as opposing any trigger warnings in the university.


George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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