Campus Free Speech

Poll: Colleges Should Punish Students for Offensive Speech

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A new HuffPost/YouGov survey found majority support for the position that colleges should punish students who engage in racially offensive speech.

Respondents consisted of 1,000 random adults from around the country—not just college students, in other words. Fifty-three percent agreed that colleges should discipline students for making racially insensitive comments. Just 28 percent disagreed, and 19 percent weren't sure.

Participants were also asked to rank a set of priorities: Preventing discrimination at the expense of free speech was (narrowly) deemed more important than protecting free speech at all costs.

The results broke down along partisan and racial lines, according to Campus Reform:

Just four percent of black respondents identified an absolute right to free speech as their top priority, for instance, while 69 percent valued a discrimination-free environment most highly. White people responded less monolithically, but in general were slightly less supportive of speech restrictions than was the general population.

Distinctions were also pronounced between Republican and Democrat respondents, contributing to the somewhat muddled overall results but offering clarification of the ideological divide on campus race issues.

This survey seems broadly consistent with other recent appraisals of public sentiment relating to free speech on campus.

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  1. Well, college these days is an extension of childhood, so it’s only natural that they should be punished for saying mean things.

  2. Huh? So if blacks and whites were less supportive of free speech than the general population, does this make Hispanics and Asians Pam Geller?

    1. Oh, the non college population. Sorry, go on.

    2. Whites were more supportive.

  3. Just four percent of black respondents identified an absolute right to free speech as their top priority

    This is terribly sad, given what blacks in America have had to go through just to be able to freely associate, speak, and vote.

    1. excellent point

    2. They’ve been told (and shown) they can get more by making up then crying foul at made-up injustices. Free speech appears to not be a universal good for these types. They want free speech for themselves, but a universal application is seen as wretched, because somebody might say something they deem “offensive,” and political correctness has become a higher priority (to them) than the freedom to speak one’s mind without undue repercussions.

    3. I have always wondered about that. We shot their slavers but they refuse to cast off the chains.

      1. The offer of free shit is enough to tempt quite a few from liberty.

    4. This is terribly sad, given what blacks in America have had to go through just to be able to freely associate, speak, and vote.

      Maybe they feel nostalgic for their great-grandparents lifestyles.

    5. “top priority”

      Maybe the cessation of police violence is a higher priority? It’s effects are more immediate and often final.

    6. Very true and sad, and yet I can see some of the reasoning behind it. If you feel yourself an embattled minority, the proclamation that everyone has the right to free speech may not seem like much of a win. I mean, you’re still an embattled minority, surrounded by people who hate you. If, on the other hand, you manage to seize the levers of power, you don’t have to tolerate those people anymore – now you have some real “equality”.

  4. It is a meaningless poll. What is “racially offensive speech”? No way is there any kind of consensus on what that means. I imagine a good number of people think it means running around calling people the “N” word. And when you think of it that way, it makes sense for colleges to punish people for that. But that is just punishing people for being insulting and disruptive. They should punish someone who runs around calling women “whores” or guys in the science department “nerds”. That is just decorum.

    This poll almost certainly does not mean what the SJWs want it to mean; that people support punishing things like objecting to affirmative action or wearing a Washington Redskins shirt.

    1. Yeah, Robby vacillates between ‘racially offensive speech’ and ‘racially insensitive comments’ which, to me is a gulf that includes everything from deliberate public use of the “N” word to passively naming any color on the rainbow in the presence of someone of that color.

      1. “Robby vacillates between ‘racially offensive speech’ and ‘racially insensitive comments”

        Right. There is always this kind of weaseling around the fact that, sans any clarity of “intent” that anyone can declare almost anything “insensitive”.

        What exactly does “sensitivity” require? For some it will mean complete adherence to a very specific worldview, outside of which everything is verboten.

    2. “This poll almost certainly does not mean what the SJWs want it to mean;’

      That’s probably very true.

      I’m sure many people are imagining some theoretical hyper-bigoted person screaming profanities in the school quad = not “institutions being used to destroy people’s lives because of Facebook posts or ‘anonymous’ YikYak comments”

      Most of the young people who seem super-supportive of speech policing probably do so because they believe the kind of free-for-all offensiveness they see on the internet shouldn’t be replicated in “Real Life”. But they don’t really grasp that speech-police-powers will affect every and any corner of life once granted to the Top People.

  5. Oh, a poll? How droll. So, it’s meaningless. Well, that was simple.

    1. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in Internet panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by age, gender, race, education, and region) was selected from the 2010 American Community Study. Voter registration was imputed from the November 2010 Current Population Survey Registration and Voting Supplement. Religion, minor party identification, and non- placement on an ideology scale, were imputed from the 2008 Pew Religion in American Life Survey.

      The sample was weighted using propensity scores based on age, gender, race, education, voter registration, and
      non-placement on an ideology scale. The weights range from 0.086 to 6.045, with a mean of one and a standard
      deviation of 1.113.

      There’s stochastic and then there’s “stochastic”.

    2. I find it racially insensitive, the way you and Robby are talking about my people.

      Us Pollocks are a proud people.

      1. You are a fish?

        1. Maybe I’m a painter, smart guy!

  6. Ah yes, the nebulous “offensive speech.” I already hate when people tell me I can’t use certain words because they’re “vulgar” or “crude” or “offensive.” Who gets to define the terms?

    What is the material difference between shit and poop? Fuck and sex? This goes for all of the supposedly racially offensive terms. Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t use the racially offensive terms, for cultural survival reasons (and I genuinely don’t like offending people). But ultimately, words hold no more power than that which we give to them. (Many) black people have embraced the “N-word,” but only when they use it. Why should it be different for all people? Embrace the word and it would no longer have its supposedly magical powers.

    Anyway, I’m against people being assholes, and that includes intentionally offending people. But, the words are nothing more than a collection of sounds that we’ve giving meaning.

    Oh, and fuck those people who said yes in the survey.

    1. Terms like “idiot” and “moron” were once value neutral scientific terms. They only became pejorative later. Hell even the notorious “N” word was once just a mundane synonym for “slave”. Only later after the end of slavery did it become pejorative because using it was meant to tell a black person they were still on the level of a slave.

      Racial slurs are only slurs because society collectively decides they are. There is no magic power to words.

      1. Ever hear a person with a deep southern accent pronounce Negro? That’s the source. Not sure how it became specially pejorative, but bigotry likely played a role.

        1. unless that person is a hundred years old, no. Mostly because the term just died. Maybe it’s better when folks outside of the South use it.

  7. No real surprises – people suck.
    Where’s that big ass volcanic eruption?

  8. Stocks? Whippings? Rack? Drawn and quarterd. There needs to be a public display. PPV.

  9. So, I see we’ve defined “discrimination” down to nearly nothing. In my day it meant something rather more sinister than name-calling.

    1. It seems we are now seeing the opposite of the euphemism treadmill, where words are not routinely pejorativized. Thus, one’s political opponents become “terrorists”, consensual sex trade becomes “trafficking” and “rape”, etc.

  10. Wait, what? A Huffington Post survey “finds” that people want to live in an authoritarian state? Shocking!

  11. Ah, the Libertarian Moment just rolls on like a juggernaut of freedom.

    1. Sallust, I think it was, noted that most people want, not freedom, but a just master.

  12. Interesting that a generation of parents who won’t punish their children increasingly demands third parties dole out punishment later on.

  13. A meaningless poll with ambiguous items. Racially insensitive runs the gamut from imperceptible microaggression bullshit to calling Black folks niggers. There’s an enormous gulf between the two but the poll items weren’t tailored to capture this and were, instead, tailored to reach a desired conclusion.

    1. Holy shit! I swear I didn’t read this comment first.

    2. Especially now that expressions like “America is a land of opportunity” and “color-blind society” are considered offensive by some.

      1. But you see, MLK jr was just working with the tools available at the time, and was misguided because he couldn’t have anticipated the structural racism that needs to corrected by affirmative action.

        Tony has actually argued this point.

        1. Tony would likely consider MLK a sell-out. How dare King want to be treated like a man who happened to be black instead of insisting that his blackness be recognized and sanctified.

          1. Well, King favored judging people on the content of their character rather than awarding victim points for the color of their skin, so probably wasn’t *really* black.

  14. Just four percent of black respondents identified an absolute right to free speech as their top priority

    Well, most of ’em are trained Democrats. Free stuff trumps free speech.

    1. Free stuff trumps free speech.

      I see what you did there.

  15. I find this preference outcome much less alarming than what people claim is discriminatory or hate speech. People will argue opposing race preferences is hate speech even as they argue your white privilege entitles them to reparations. They seem to believe any disagreement with their preferences is “hate” and thus eligible for regulation.

    1. That’s the goal. They can’t win on the strength of their ideas, so instead they have resorted to silencing their opponents.

  16. Independents declared offensive speech shall not be tolerated.

  17. The results broke down along partisan and racial lines

    So now we can look forward to the progtard’s next derpy talking point: that defending freedom of speech is just a “racist dog whistle.” I can’t wait / sarc

  18. You’d think that at some point the maturing Millenial generation might wake up and go, “Wait a minute… most polls are really just the product of *horseshit questions*? Well that explains a lot”

    Or maybe not.

    1. So far I see no evidence that the millenial generation is maturing. They mostly seem to be a bunch of perpetual toddlers.

      1. Being raised by helicopter parents will do that.

        They don’t seem to realize that the social consequences of being an asshole are sufficient. If I started chanting about white power, I’d definitely lose a lot of friends and make enemies. That’s enough of a deterrent, and why people resort to anonymous platforms which can easily be ignored by those with fragile feelings.

        No, we can’t take care of our own problems and deal with assholes by ostracizing. We need an authority figure to step in and definitively punish them. They can’t conceive of justice being served if it isn’t being served by authority.

      2. Specific to the issue of “polls”, they seem especially influenced by quotes like =

        “””97% of scientists concur and agree that there is global warming and anthropogenic impact,”
        and
        “92% of Americans favor [insert vague claim about gun control]”

        You see these things cited routinely in social media. Constantly. Like they are slam-dunks of some sort.

        Anytime a poll delivers a number above 90% (* like Saddamn Hussain’s election results) … it probably didn’t actually ask the “question” you think it did.

        The source of both above #s were really just questions asking people to “confirm” what they think already exists.

        e.g..
        Have temperatures risen? Yes. Is there likely a human component? Yes.

        Neither says anything about whether that’s *a problem*, or whether human contribution is significant…or requires some (or any) policy.

        in the case of the latter “gun control” # so often cited… it was asking people if they believe in “background checks“… a policy already in place…..Used to claim that we obviously need new policies.

        What’s notable about these “consensus” arguments is that they tend to reinforce themselves. Once you spread the meme that “Everyone Agrees”… everyone tends to agree.

      3. The little shits won’t know what to do once they realize society doesn’t give two fucks about their safe spaces & microaggressions.

        *evil grin*

  19. [From] [r]espondents [who] consisted of 1,000 random adults from around the country[…] Fifty-three percent agreed that colleges should discipline students for making racially insensitive comments

    How many agreed that students should be spanked for making racially-insensitive comments?

    1. Depends on the student?

  20. Sorry folks, there’s really only so many of these polls I can believe aren’t accurate. The reality is these results map to what we see coming out of college campuses. Millennials just aren’t that into freedom. Some have been bred into good little cadres and a lot have had any sense of independence beaten out of them. And before anyone wants to fault me for generalizing, yes, I understand this doesn’t represent all Millennials. But, it certainly seems to reflect a hell of a lot bigger a portion of the youth than when I was that age.

    1. Sounds like someone’s lawn is getting walked on.

      *Little Bastards*

      1. Yeah? Well, when I was young, we walked to school. In three feet of snow. Uphill. Both ways!

  21. In all seriousness, students in majors like physics or linguistics probably wouldn’t respond because they’re just too goddam busy with, you know, studying. That will tend to skew the sampled population to folks in majors like “(fill in the blank) Studies.” Note the term “opt-in.”

  22. colleges should punish students who engage in racially offensive speech.

    If a bystander hears a Black greet another Black with “‘Sup, Nigga”, can that bystander claim to be racially offendHAHAHAHAHAAA!! Damn, couldn’t quite get it out!

  23. Not to worry, I’m sure all those Muslim immigrants and other immigrants from third world countries that have been coming into the country value free speech above all else too! I bet they hate the welfare state too.

  24. I also with those people who agreed that colleges should discipline students for making racially insensitive comments which is really important in my opinion.

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