Crafton Hills College: Content Warning on Graphic Novel Coursework

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Crafton Hills College

In the Spring 2015 semester at Crafton Hills College, a student and her parents objected to the violent and sexual content in several works in an English course on graphic novels, including Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House. Following discussions with the student and the CHC administration, the course’s professor agreed to include a warning about the material on the course’s syllabus in future semesters. FIRE wrote to CHC on June 24 warning of the chilling effect the pressure to include “trigger warnings” on syllabi could have on academic freedom. A coalition including the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Association of University Professors, and the PEN American Center sent a similar letter on June 29. In CHC’s July 8 response to FIRE, CHC president Cheryl Marshall informed FIRE that the warnings would not be used after all, agreeing that “it sets an unhealthy precedent and does not encourage free expression of views and speech, particularly in an educational institution.”