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A.S. Senate Passes Proposal to Label Trauma-Provoking Academic Content

At Wednesday night’s Associated Students Senate meeting, senators passed a resolution to begin the process of instituting mandatory “trigger warnings” on class syllabi at UCSB and Chancellor Henry T. Yang made a surprise appearance.

“A Resolution to Mandate Warnings for Triggering Content in Academic Settings,” urges university officials to require professors who present content that may trigger the onset of symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to warn the students ahead of time and refrain from docking points from those who opt out of attending class that day. The resolution also directs A.S. executives to bring the proposal to the attention of the UC Student Association board and the Academic Senate and asks that the office of the Student Advocate General appoint a staff member to devise a list of trigger warnings. Also at the meeting, Chancellor Yang appeared to deliver letters to each of the senators, in which he declared his determination to take action as a result of the sexual assaults that occurred over the weekend.

Among other promises, Yang stated there will be increased lighting around the UCSB lagoon and more Foot Patrol and Community Service Officers in Isla Vista, in addition to increased staff in the counseling and advocacy services.

Bailey Loverin, chief of staff for the Student Advocate General and student sponsor of the resolution, cited her personal experience sitting through triggering content as her reason for writing the resolution.

“Tonight I am coming to you…first as a student, second as a woman and third, as a survivor of sexual abuse,” Loverin said. “Two weeks ago, I sat in class watching a film screening and felt forced to watch two scenes in which the instance of sexual assault was insinuated and one in which an instance of rape was graphically depicted … there was no warning before this film screening … and it was incredibly difficult to sit through.”

Loverin said although she did not want to sit through the film, it was more difficult to walk out during the movie and draw attention to herself. She said the resolution was intended to aid students who had experienced trauma and retained symptoms of PTSD.

“[The resolution] recognizes that trigger warnings are symptoms of PTSD and UCSB Disabled Students Program recognizes PTSD as a disability,” Loverin said.

However, Loverin also said that the resolution is not asking for the removal or censorship of any triggering content, but rather better consideration of victims of sexual assault and PTSD.

“This is not meant to censor … but it really just asks that professors and other people on campus acknowledge the effects of triggering content on students with PTSD,” Loverin said.

Before the Senate eventually passed the resolution, On-Campus Senator Nikki Calderon said all of the senators should do everything in their power to ensure university officials are aware of the request and Off-Campus Senator Beatrice Contreras added another note of support.

“I’ve been in this kind of situation before — it sucks; we should pass it,” Contreras said.

Additionally, A.S. President Jonathan Abboud reported he will be meeting with California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and California State Assemblyman Das Williams, along with the co-chairs of UCSB Take Back the Night, to discuss introducing state legislation around sexual assault policy and prevention.

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9 Responses to A.S. Senate Passes Proposal to Label Trauma-Provoking Academic Content

  1. Henry

    April 20, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I shake my head at what my alma mater has become…

  2. dude

    March 7, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    This has nothing to do with Stalinism, nor is it remotely connected. Make sure you know your history before making inaccurate comparisons.

  3. Coyote

    March 6, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    We’ve become a country of narcissistic overly-protected drama queens. You have no right to not be offended.

    This saddens me.

  4. Gerry

    March 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    They’re supposed to be third level students. They shouldn’t be getting points for attendance anyway.

  5. Jason G

    March 3, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Oh come on Nikki and Jonathan, you’re better than this. The university is a free space, not a safe space. There are things that might trigger me. I don’t go around demanding that the world cater to my emotional needs. Part of being an adult is learning to deal with tough feelings. So no, I’m not going to support having this school turned into Tumblr, with “trigger warnings” put all over everything. You know what? That triggers me. What are you gonna do about it?

  6. Razzles

    March 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Stalinist feminist phobic, step out of your fear factor phobias and imagine the day your daughter calls you and tells you that she has been raped! Is your answer going to be deal with it and move on! Or are you going to hold to your phobia of feeling oppressed by school policy that simply states give people a heads up on the topic being presented. It doesn’t state that the topic can’t be presented but may save someone from having to relive a nightmare that too many women have had to endure. Step out of your self centered world and walk in that of others.

  7. Guest

    February 28, 2014 at 11:31 am

    With this kind of Stalinist oppression, feminist gender bigots hope to create their Orwellian female supremacist Utopia. Is anyone home at UCSB, a school which already rapes free speech by conduct code? To further infantilize an already totally Coddled ‘Gender’ (Sex) is not likely to empower that sex either.

    • George Orwell

      February 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Dude, this has nothing to do with any of my books. So many fails in this comment.

      • Guest

        March 1, 2014 at 10:56 am

        Georgie dear, you seem so senile that you’ve forgotten the theme of your own books. That said, FIRE is right there to catalog UCSB’s free speech violations…and Stalinist feminist oppression similar to that proposed in the law above is also easily accessible in FIRE’s OCR coverage too. Now please use your stature to stop our ‘oppressed’ oppressors from spreading more such totalitarian tyranny here.