- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 8, 2016

One of the largest and most representative surveys on “trigger warnings” shows that a majority of American college professors now issue them to new students.

NPR blanketed the nation last fall with surveys on trigger warnings and received over 800 responses from academics. Nearly 65 percent of 829 respondents said they took part in the practice.

“I think that trigger warnings can and should be used in a limited number of situations, but overusing them can create a situation in which students opt out of learning experiences simply because they don’t want to confront their own assumptions about the world,” said Lauren Griffith, a professor of ethnology at Texas Tech University, NPR reported Wednesday.

“I have had students break down reading novels depicting sexual assault and incest in my gender studies courses,” added an unidentified professor from the University of North Carolina.

The new organization’s sample included 829 instructors of undergraduates. Roughly 54 percent said they teach at public four-year institutions.

Respondents were inclined to give trigger warnings for sexual or violent material, but less so for racially, religiously, or politically charged material, NPR reported.

“This is hard history. It’s hard to talk about, hard to absorb,” Hasan Jeffries, an associate professor of history at Ohio State University, told NPR of his advice to new students. “It’s filled with trauma, sexual violence, racial violence, visual images of murder and chaos. You may walk into my classroom and see an image of a lynching that was put on a postcard. This is America.”

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