FREEDOM OF SPEECH FOR ME, BUT NOT FOR THEE – If the university-educated young people are our future, our future looks gloomy.
From a recently released survey of 3,000 American students, conducted by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the American Council on Education, the Charles Koch Foundation, the Stanton Foundation, and Gallup:
Good as far as it goes – we like free expression at uni. But in the wider society? Well, not so much.
Why a diverse and inclusive society is more important beyond the gates of universities than inside them is an interesting question. One possible answer is that tertiary students see themselves as the intellectual and moral elite of the society and as such consider themselves better able to handle various constitutional freedoms. The rubes out there, on the other hand, might not have the intelligence and sophistication to reasonably use their freedoms. It could also be that the students suspect the general population of harbouring, unlike them, too many incorrect views. An so “diversity” and “inclusivity” – of everything but ideas – triumphs.
Students (54 percent) are more likely to think the climate on their campus prevents people from speaking their mind because others might take offense. While a majority of college students, 69 percent, believe political conservatives are able to freely express their views on campus, many more believe political liberals (92 percent) and other campus groups are able to share their opinions freely.
Many colleges struggle when inviting controversial figures to speak on campus. Ninety percent of college students say it is never acceptable to use violence to prevent someone from speaking, but 10 percent say is sometimes acceptable. A majority (62 percent) also say shouting down speakers is never acceptable, although 37 percent believe it is sometimes acceptable.