A survey just released by the Knight Foundation and Gallup shows that More than 75% of the college students surveyed want “safe spaces” on campuses that are free of “threatening actions, ideas, or conversations.” However, a majority of the same students support President Trump’s threat to withhold taxpayer dollars from universities that restrict speech.
Though 97% of college students believe that free speech is “an essential pillar of American democracy”, a majority of students support policies to restrict of speech on campus. 78% of students support “safe spaces” where threatening ideas and conversations would be barred. 80% favor the establishment of a “free-speech zone” where pre-approved protests and the distribution of literature are permitted.
The whole thing is filled with similar contradictions. Only 26% support censoring “political views that are upsetting or offensive to certain groups,” but more than three-fourths support restricting “language on campus that is intentionally offensive to certain groups.” 71% want to ban “costumes that stereotype certain racial or ethnic groups,” whatever that means.
The survey polled 3,319 college students, aged 18 to 24, from 24 different schools. The whole report is here.
- So while most students support specific policies restricting free speech, most students also say they support the principle of free speech and the right to express political views on campus. Got it. They have no understanding of what free speech means, and don’t comprehend the First Amendment.
They should have been taught this in high school.
- About 20% of college students want strict censorship of speech. Those are the young totalitarians.
I wonder…what political party do they support?
- Not only do college students largely fail to comprehend the concept of free speech, they lack critical thinking skills as well.
Note: Speaker Pelosi backs lowering the voting age to 16.
- 63 % of students apparently feel that their campus climate deters students from expressing themselves openly, a rise from 54 % in 2016. Conservative students experience greater barriers to openly expressing their opinions, the surveyed felt, with Democrats feeling more comfortable than Republicans about sharing dissenting views in class.
Evette Alexander, the Knight Foundation’s Director of learning and impact said that survey respondents felt greater pressure from their peers, rather than their professors, about voicing their dissenting opinions. What sense does that make, if 97% believe that free speech is a “pillar”?
“We understand that [pressure] mostly comes from peers,” Alexander said. “The professors would be open to hearing different thoughts, but the people who feel uncomfortable usually have a point of view that doesn’t align with the most vocal students in the room. And so they feel like by speaking up, they would expose themselves to retaliation.”
I don’t believe her. If the faculties were not indoctrinating the students into believing there were clear distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate points of view, thus creating a rationalization for campus censorship, and instead properly conveyed the American value that freedom of expression should be near absolute, the situations Alexander describes would not exist.
What the survey really shows is the abject failure of our education system.
I think we knew that.