Cornell rejects student proposal to add trigger warnings to syllabi
The student assembly at Cornell University proposed a resolution to add trigger warnings in their syllabi for potentially offensive content in class.
The school has rejected it.
The resolution, called Mandating Content Warnings for Traumatic Content in the Classroom, required professors to warn students about content that may trigger the onset of PTSD symptoms. That includes sexual assault, domestic violence, self-harm, suicide, child abuse, racial violence, transphobic violence, and more.
The proposal also prevented professors from penalizing students who opt out of exposure to such content.
The student assembly passed it in March, before the group presented it to the administration.
Cornell’s president and provost say it would “have a chilling effect on faculty, who would naturally fear censure lest they bring a discussion spontaneously into new and challenging territory, or fail to accurately anticipate students’ reaction to a topic or idea.”
And “it would unacceptably limit our students’ ability to speak, question, and explore, lest a classroom conversation veer into an area determined ‘off-limits’ unless warned against weeks or months earlier.”
The Cornell Student Assembly President, Valeria Valencia, responded saying the resolution would not have infringed on free speech, and that it was meant to support students.
This is one of the latest examples of the battle over the first amendment on university campuses. Just last month, students protested a federal judge’s speech at Stanford Law because they disagreed with his conservative stances.
U.S. Air Force