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.”

  • Crafton Hills Graphic Novels Course Not To Have Disclaimer After All

    July 7, 2015

    By Sandra Emerson at The Sun YUCAIPA >> A recently protested English course on graphic novels at Crafton Hills College will not have a disclaimer in the fall, after all. In June, campus President Cheryl A. Marshall said professor Ryan Bartlett had agreed to place a disclaimer on his English 250 course following complaints from a student and her parents that the books contained “pornographic” and “violent” material. Campus spokeswoman Donna Hoffman said in an email Tuesday that the disclaimer was never required or mandated. “It seemed like the correct response at the time but, upon further reflection, Ryan Bartlett has […]

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  • Banned Books Week: When FIRE defended the right to read

    September 29, 2017

    In honor of Banned Books Week, today we’re reflecting on memorable FIRE cases involving access to literature. Access to a diverse literature — and the freedom from the fear of punishment for utilizing that access — is one of the most important educational resources a university can offer its students. FIRE proudly defends the students’ right to access literature and professors’ right to assign controversial works. Crafton Hills College: Trigger warning for graphic novel coursework In the spring of 2015, a student and her parents pressured Crafton Hills College to add a trigger warning to an English course syllabus on […]

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  • Crafton Hills College Ditches Disclaimer After FIRE, Coalition Warning

    July 9, 2015

    Yesterday, California’s Crafton Hills College (CHC) chose to support academic freedom in deciding not to include a trigger warning on an English class syllabus. FIRE hopes CHC’s quick and forthright response to criticism from FIRE and a coalition of groups including the National Coalition Against Censorship sets an example for other schools considering the use of similar disclaimers. The resolution comes after student Tara Shultz complained that material used in Professor Ryan Bartlett’s English course on graphic novels—including Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House—was “garbage” and sought to have it censored for containing […]

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  • Coalition Warns Crafton Hills College About Graphic Novel Disclaimer

    June 30, 2015

    Last week, FIRE sent a letter to California’s Crafton Hills College (CHC) cautioning the college about the threat to academic freedom posed by a content warning that will be now included on the syllabus of an English course about graphic novels. This week, FIRE’s warning has been reinforced by a powerful coalition letter sent to CHC. As the Redland Daily Facts reported earlier this month, student Tara Shultz and her parents sharply criticized the college for the inclusion of certain graphic novels in an English course on graphic novels. Shultz called the critically acclaimed books—Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi; Fun Home, […]

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  • FIRE Cautions College About Graphic Novel Warnings

    June 25, 2015

    As has been reported recently, California’s Crafton Hills College (CHC) has been the scene of a controversy over the need for “trigger warnings” on college syllabi. In this case, the offending material consisted of four graphic novels (in an English course on graphic novels) whose content—including nudity, sexuality, violence, torture, and profanity—led student Tara Shultz, alongside her parents, to protest the materials’ inclusion in the curriculum. As the Redlands Daily Facts reported: The four Shultz and her parents found offensive were “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel; “Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1” by Brian Vaughan; “The Sandman, Vol. 2: The […]

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