A new study confirms what most of us already knew: A majority of college students are hostile to free speech.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released a survey, which the group calls "the most comprehensive survey on students’ attitudes about free speech to date," which reveals that college students overwhelmingly reject the First Amendment.
A majority of students on college campuses self-censor in class, support disinviting some guest speakers with whom they disagree, and don’t know that hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. The study also finds that Republican and Democratic students have different opinions on campus protests, disinvitations, and hate speech protections.
46 percent of students recognize that hate speech is protected by the First Amendment, and 48 percent of students think the First Amendment should not protect hate speech.
Most students (56 percent) support disinviting some guest speakers. Democratic students are 19 percentage points more likely than their Republican peers to agree that there are times a speaker should be disinvited.
58 percent of college students think it’s important to be part of a campus community where they are not exposed to intolerant or offensive ideas.
Also notable from the survey: Students who identified as “very liberal” were 14% more likely to express feeling comfortable expressing opinions in class than their conservative peers.
FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley said of the findings, "There is clearly a partisan divide in how students perceive free speech on college campuses. This further solidifies the importance of FIRE’s mission. Free expression is too important to become a partisan issue in higher education.”
FIRE's survey results should come as no big surprise. Extreme left-wing thought has become the norm on college campuses, even among faculty--currently, left-leaning professors outnumber right-leaning professors 12 to 1. It's gotten to the point where many conservative students no longer feel comfortable expressing their views openly.
The First Amendment should be respected and treasured by people on both sides of the political aisle; but unfortunately, many on the left seek to stomp out all dissenting opinions and make college campuses into left-wing echo chambers.