student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

Content Warning Guidelines


Introduction

NUSU is a democratic, representative, membership organisation and we provided a voice for student opinion. On occasions we communicate information, news or statements which contain information which students might consider to be of a sensitive nature.

To ensure that we do this in a respectful and sensitive way, to protect our student’s wellbeing, we recommend that in certain circumstance a content warning precedes our information.

This document sets out a guideline on when it is appropriate to use a warning and the process to follow.

 

When will a content warning be used?

There is not a hard and fast rule to when we will use a content warning however it is likely that it will be used for the topics listed below.

Drugs / Alcohol / Substance abuse Ableism
Domestic Violence Death and Bereavement
Homophobia / Transphobia Racism / Anti-Semetism / Xenophobia / Hate Crimes
Suicide Eating Disorders /Diet Culture
Self-Harm Police Brutality
Sexual Assault / Violence / Rape Stalking

We are more likely to include a warning if a topic has recently been discussed publically and caused controversy or debate or includes personal and / or emotional accounts or recollections. But if the information is presented in a factual or historical manner, a warning might not be necessary.

The topics listed above are examples and not presented as an exhaustive list, other characteristics could require a content warning.

 

Why does NUSU use the term content warning and not a trigger warning, which is used by some other Student Unions?

A content warning is used as a gentle indication to when content is of a sensitive nature and might cause distress. A trigger warning could give the impression that an action or reaction is required or inevitable, it also is more alarming in tone.

 

Will the introduction of content warnings prevent open discussion on sensitive subjects?

No. The purpose of introducing content warnings ensures that difficult, sensitive subjects can continue to be highlighted, discussed openly and thoughts and opinions considered. By adding a warning, we are ensuring that debate continues in a caring and considerate way.

 

Where will the content warning be used?

A content warning could be added to any of our communications such as, but limited to, a website article, news story or blog post, e-newsletter and a social media post. If you have any questions relating to the use of content warnings please contact: Director of Digital & Communications at ddc.union@Newcastle.ac.uk