UNIVERSITY staff have been told to warn students if classes contain any distressing content.
A list of 22 potential triggers to avoid includes heterosexism and classism.
Material containing references to sexual assault, incest, animal cruelty, dissection, blood, death, pregnancy, mental illness and ableism, racism, sexism and misogyny, and homophobia should also be flagged up.
The guidance could mean English literature students are warned about murders and sex assaults in Shakespeare plays.
History students may also be exposed to graphic Victorian newspaper reports and vivid descriptions of working class exploitation in books such as Robert Tressell’s The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists.
Reading University lecturers are warned: “We are concerned students are aware of the risk that material used in their learning might trigger unwelcome and distressing memories.
“Trigger warnings are warnings provided to alert students to sensitive content covered in their course. Warnings are not intended to censor teaching material or content. They are there to help students engage with the issue, not avoid them.”
The guidance was drawn up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission with help from the National Union of Students and the Home Office.
Universities can also create free speech safe spaces.
A spokesman at Reading said the document was “guidance to help teaching staff consider how best to support students”.
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