Home » News » College students see free speech as important, but less secure, Knight survey finds

By Free Speech Center, published on February 1, 2022

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Almost 6 in 10 college students believe colleges should allow the sharing of all free speech on campus, even if some in the community might find some opinions to be biased or offensive, according to a new survey from the Knight Foundation’s Free Expression Research Series.


The study, conducted in partnership with Ipsos, also found that 84 percent of students see free speech as highly important, but that many don’t view free-speech rights as being secure.


That concern about the security of free-speech rights has declined steadily since 2016, according to the survey. “This includes a drop of 12 percentage points between 2019 and 2021, driven primarily by declines among Republican students,” the report notes.


A full 65 percent of the 1,000 students surveyed say their campus climate prevents some students from sharing views that others might find offensive. And only about half say they feel uncomfortable disagreeing with their instructors and classmates.


A dramatic shift in the study shows that only 5 percent of African-American students believe that the First Amendment protects them a great deal, down from 25 percent just two years ago.


The full report can be found on the Knight Foundation’s site.



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