Prof Mocks Activists With Syllabus ‘Trigger Warnings’ For Math, Grades


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Blake Neff Reporter
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A professor at Auburn University is ridiculing the rising popularity of “trigger warnings” on college campuses by releasing a course syllabus that includes trigger warnings for concepts like math and grades.

Peter Schwartz teaches mechanical engineering at Auburn, and he does not like trigger warnings. So, he decided to mock them by putting them into his utterly inoffensive introductory mechanics course.

At the top of his newly-released syllabus, in bright red, Schwartz warns students “TRIGGER WARNING: physics, trigonometry, sine, cosine, tangent, vector, force, work, energy, stress, quiz, grade.”

“I think trigger warnings are a joke to begin with and I wanted to see what one might look like in an engineering course,” Schwartz told in an email. “Looks kind of silly, doesn’t it? [That’s] because it is.”

Schwartz also said that he normally doesn’t places jokes in his syllabi, political or otherwise, but was feeling particularly “mischievous” while creating this year’s syllabus and threw it in on a lark.

Schwartz’s joke comes one week after the University of Chicago attracted national attention for a dean’s letter to incoming students warning them that the school did not believe in trigger warnings or safe spaces.

Schwartz may think trigger warnings are a joke, but for many activists and school administrators they are no laughing matter. At some schools like the University of California, Santa Barbara, students have demanded that all professors issue trigger warnings, and allow students an excused absence from classes that cover concepts like sexual assault that they may find triggering. Recently, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education even publicized policies at Drexel University and other schools that apparently require instructors to provide trigger warnings, at least for sexual content.

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