January 14, 2016

Julie Winterich Talks Trigger Warnings on Canadian Radio

Associate Professor of Sociology Julie Winterich discussed trigger warnings Tuesday, Jan. 12, on a Canadian radio show.

Julie, who advocates warning students about course content that could be traumatic, had an on-air conversation with Andrew Lawton, who is guest hosting “Afternoons with Danielle Smith” on Calgary radio station News Talk 770. Andrew opposes the government’s use of a trigger warning on a website about missing and murdered indigenous women.

The program’s producer contacted Julie after reading her essay about trigger warnings that appeared Oct. 9 in Inside Higher Ed. Early in the interview, Andrew asked Julie whether she felt pressured to provide students with trigger warnings.

“I don’t personally feel pressured in using a trigger warning,” Julie replied. “In my essay, I discuss that I don’t believe in using only the phrase ‘trigger warning’ because students don’t understand what that means.

"And the media portrayal of trigger warnings has often conflated it with things like ‘oh you may get upset so I need to protect you” versus its intent, which is to let folks who have post-traumatic stress disorder understand they are about to consume very graphic material, and they should have an opportunity to prepare themselves. So, I give a content overview, I don’t use the word ‘trigger warning.’”