Polls

Survey: 58% of Students Want a Campus Where They Are Not Exposed to 'Intolerant or Offensive Ideas'

Most either think hate speech isn't protected by the First Amendment or aren't sure.

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Speech
Wavebreak Media

A majority of students either don't think hate speech is protected by the First Amendment or aren't sure. And among the 46 percent of students who correctly state that hate speech is protected, nearly half of those students say it shouldn't be.

These are among the findings of a new survey of college students' opinions. The survey was conducted by the polling firm YouGov and published by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

A full 58 percent of students told the pollsters that they want to be part of a campus community that is free of "intolerant or offensive ideas." What's more, a

majority of Black (76%) and Latino students (69%) agree that it is important to be part of a campus community where they are not exposed to intolerant or offensive ideas, as opposed to one-half of White students (51% agree). Sixty-three percent of very liberal students and 45% of very conservative students agree that it is important to be part of a campus community where they are not exposed to intolerant or offensive ideas—an 18 percentage point difference.

Students' attitudes toward the public presentation of student opinions vary by ideology as well as by partisanship. Few very liberal students (17%) agree with the idea that they should not have to walk past student protests on campus, whereas a majority of very conservative students (64%) agree. There is a partisan divide of 32 percentage points in attitudes toward campus protest: 28% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans agree with the idea that they should not have to walk past student protests on campus.

The majorities are all wrong here: Black, Latino, and liberal students do not have a right to attend a university where intolerance is forbidden, and conservative students do not have the right to attend a campus where protesting is forbidden. Protests and the discussion of offensive ideas are both vital parts of the college experience, and at public universities they are protected by the First Amendment.

Most respondents supported bringing speakers to campus with whom they might disagree strongly, but 56 percent of students think it's sometimes appropriate for administrators to disinvite controversial speakers. More than 40 percent of strongly Democratic students would want their university to disinvite a transphobic or homophobic speaker, a racist or sexist, or Donald Trump. And more than 20 percent of strongly Republican students would want the university to disinvite a communist.

These findings are a reminder that while leftist students are often the most vocally opposed to free speech on college campuses, conservatives are sometimes not much better—particularly when pollsters ask different questions. As Stephanie Slade reported earlier this week, Republicans have terrible opinions about criminalizing the burning of the American flag, an act that is manifestly and inarguably protected by the First Amendment.

Yet I remain particularly interested in the leftists' intensely negative views about restrictions on speech, since it represents a relatively recent and dramatic shift of opinions. For more on this flip-flop, read Jill Lepore in The New York Times.

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79 responses to “Survey: 58% of Students Want a Campus Where They Are Not Exposed to 'Intolerant or Offensive Ideas'

  1. The funny thing about the flag-burning issue is Senator Hillary Clinton sponsored a bill to make flag burning a federal crime with a minimum prison sentence.

    1. Yeah, “manifest and inarguably” protected by the First Amendment is rather strong wording. I seem to recall a lot of arguments about what forms of non-speech are protected by the freedom of speech.

      1. Inappropriately deadpan “parody” intended to damage a reputation is not protected either, so hopefully we can implement bans on it in campuses across the country. Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

        https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    2. As a veteran, I’m rather partial to the American flag, but I am absolutely nuts about the First Amendment. I reluctantly agree that flag burning is protected free speech.

      However, I’m biased enough to think that the penalty for kicking the shit out of a flag-burner whould be a fine of one dollar.

  2. I know I want a world where everyone agrees with me too. Things would get super weird, super quick. Still that’s what I want.

    1. It’s kind of like that now, with both the and angel and devil on your shoulders agreeing that yes, it is a good idea to watch more medical insertion pornography.

      1. I’ve transcended past that, and now can only enjoy medical insertion videos being done for real medical purposes. Pornography is just too weak.

          1. BUCS can’t finish unless he knows there’s an anxious family waiting in the lobby.

  3. very liberal students (17%) agree with the idea that they should not have to walk past student protests on campus, whereas a majority of very conservative students

    Are Very Liberal and Very Conservative self-labels? What do these terms even mean? I’m starting to think that a 1 dimensional scale doesn’t do a good job of representing the breadth of human thought.

    1. I would also imagine there are about 100 self-described “very liberal” students to every 1 “very conservative” student.

    2. What do these terms even mean?

      Nothing anymore.

    3. Im starting to think that a 1 dimensional scale doesn’t do a good job of representing the breadth of human thought.

      you think that’s bad, i think even the Nolan Chart mostly useless.

      1. But are there even more than 2 dimensions?

        1. putting philosophical or political ideas on a spectrum (no matter how many axes it has) pretends that they share fundamentally similar bases and differ only in ‘degree’.

          1) that’s not how political arguments work. they often differ in fundamental conception; they rely on different sets of ideas.

          and

          2) very different political philosophies can result in the same policies, or very similar political philosophies can result in vicious opposition to one another over some minor, non-philosophical detail

          im using politics and philosophy interchangeably here only because that’s how the Nolan Chart tries to do it. but i don’t think they’re actually the same either. Politics is how groups of people deal with immediate, material relations. Philosophy lives happily in the ether. maybe my complaint #3 is how the nolan chart conflates this.

          1. But it is how tribalism works, and there’s plenty of evidence that most people are more tribal then philosophical when it comes to politics.

          2. This may sometimes be the case, but not nearly always. Many issues can be practically reduced to degrees. How much redistribution should be done? How much of a right or duty does the state have to regulate economic activity? What drugs should it be illegal to use and under what penalty? Such issues literally come down to a spectrum of a continuous variable like how many years in in prison, how many dollars, how many people. Once you leave the realm of AnCaps, Marxists, and Christian Reconstructionists, it is very much a matter of degrees.

            1. The answer to each of your questions is “none”…

  4. And more than 20 percent of strongly Republican students would want the university to disinvite a communist.

    Though this means that exactly 1 person wanted to disinvite communists.

  5. conservative students do not have the right to attend a campus where protesting is forbidden.

    The fake news media, including reason, routinely characterize violent rioting and assaults by leftists as”protests” and the perpetrators as “protesters” so I question your conclusion..

      1. What do you mean by TreasonNN?

        1. (sigh)

          Reason = CNN.

          i know, i was disappointed too.

    1. The trash cans are setting themselves on fire, to be sure.

  6. Protests and the discussion of offensive ideas are both vital parts of the college experience

    Like cheap beer, skunky weed, and sexual experimentation.

  7. So, we don’t really need colleges anymore, since they seem to agree with their idiot students…

  8. And Hate Speech is what again? Polite conversations about economics? Discourse of glacier melting without gender identification?

    My question to the kids, what do you think isn’t being tolerated at your campus?

    1. And Hate Speech is what again?

      this

      1. Oh definitely, Such a poster would end careers at a university. Or get a student bashed.

        1. *for the record, my mentioning that was not an endorsement of the implicit argument

          it was simply pointing out that some people think that form of argument is de-facto “wrong” in its very conception.

          that no one should ever have to rebut it because the only way someone could even think/say such things is to confess to collectivist-wrongthink, which isn’t wrong because of specific *reasons*, but wrong because it is socially-unacceptable

          once you start declaring things socially unacceptable, you lose the capability to actually rebut arguments with reasons and persuasion.

          its the Mill argument, basically. of course, the lefties try to pre-empt it by claiming Speech = harm.

          1. You know the old saying. Sticks and stones may or may not break my bones, but words will always hurt me.

      2. Looks like one of the infographics from Brass Eye, but I don’t know where to look because nothing is blinking

        1. *his reference

          (and also one of my favorite jokes about how journalists use “data”)

      3. The only offensive thing about that is Stefan Molyneux’s face.

  9. while leftist students are often the most vocally opposed to free speech on college campuses, conservatives are sometimes not much better?particularly when pollsters ask different questions

    to quote/paraphrase Hank Paulson: “”better” is not “good“. but better IS better”

    I remain particularly interested in the leftists’ intensely negative views about restrictions on speech,

    my impression from the article was that leftists are favorable towards restriction of speech. i think most readers will probably grok the point but this is just a terrible sentence

    i also think the idea that the leftist posture towards speech is a recent reversal is only possible if you never paid any attention to left politics between the 1980s and now.

  10. In other words 58% of students want a campus that is completely intolerant, but are too stupid to realize it.

    1. ^^this

      any poll of college kids should have a disclaimer: “College students are idiots; 100% margin of error”

  11. A majority of students either don’t think hate speech is protected by the First Amendment or aren’t sure.

    Credit to the American education system if accurate.

    1. Then again, consider the average reporter’s grasp of math and statistics before completely accepting anything you read about polls.

  12. Sixty-three percent of very liberal students and 45% of very conservative students agree that it is important to be part of a campus community where they are not exposed to intolerant or offensive ideas?an 18 percentage point difference.

    Who has 100% of the thumbs he should and thinks that a hundred percent of people should be consistent using numerals or words for numbers and percentages?

    This guy. [Points to self with 100 percentage points of own thumbs.]

    1. Count the number of comments copy-editing Robby’s post. I see 4 so far. (mine included)

  13. I blame right-wingers for all of it. See, when I was learning civics at a public middle school, I was taught that the ACLU free speech absolutist position was not just one point of view but was the accepted point of view in modern America. We were taught about Skokie and it was presented as a landmark victory for freedom. We were taught that you must tolerate odious speech, because otherwise the odious people might some day come after you.

    I can only surmise that the increasingly shrill busybodies of the right would consider this completely objectionable lefty-Democratic propaganda. Either via direct attacks on school curricula or media/social pressure, I somehow doubt that the kids who followed me in that civics class were taught in quite the same way. Looking back, even I think it was kind of dogmatically liberal (even as my teacher explained that she was a centrist–abortion was acceptably controversial in that class).

    So it stands to reason that the right’s assault on the freedom of teachers to teach how they deem appropriate, which has been going on in a far more organized way since I left public school, has left today’s college kids with less of an appreciation for what are indeed liberal values.

    1. I blame right-wingers for all of it.

      I’ll just consider the post as ‘read’ and move on. Boilerplate stumpin’.

      1. Boilerplate Stumpin’ was Tony’s nickname in middle school, as a matter of fact.

      2. I read it all; you didn’t miss anything.

    2. I read every single word of this douche screed.

    3. We must break the right’s absolute control of the public education system.

      1. They’ve demonstrated that they can do major damage with even a little control.

        1. You know who else did major damage with just a little control?

          1. Stephen Paddock?

        2. They’ve demonstrated that they can do major damage with even a little control.

          What with students unable to read…nope, still the domain of progressive-run public schools…

          1. We have a president who is unable to read, and he’s no progressive, nor did he go to public schools.

            1. We have a president who is unable to read, and he’s no progressive, nor did he go to public schools.

              Come on, we just HAD a President who was dumber and quite a Progressive.

              1. There is no hope for you retards is there?

        3. No, they really can’t. You can’t blame every Democratic fuck up on Republicans not giving them enough money to piss away.

          Of course you blame the right for everything. They are Satan in your own little secular theology. Every sin by one of your own not only can, but must be traced back to ‘the Right.’

          Tony, you clearly spend way too much time on political sites; it’s fu king up your mind. Every time you show up here you’re absurd caricature of the last time you came here. You seem about two steps away from genuines accusing the ghost of Ronald Reagan of giving you indigestion.

    4. I blame right-wingers for all of it.

      Holy shit!

      Never saw THAT coming.

      And, no, I didn’t read beyond that sentence. Sure, there might be some wisdom in there, but I’d wager there probably isn’t.

    5. “Freedom of teachers”

      I believe that’s covered under the elevendy-second amendment from the progressive constitution of tolerant goodthink

      1. It’s in the national archives next to the libertarian bill of rights, which says “Freedom is to be maximized. However, if you work for someone, you are their indentured servant. And if you work for the government, you are my personal torture slave.”

    6. So, what has happened to the ACLU to cause them to abandon free speech? Has it veered dangerously to the right? You are claiming, incredulously, that the right is committing violent acts to suppress free speech on college campuses?

      Why has the left abandoned the virtue of free speech? Why has the left abandoned the constitution and western values? Why does the left embrace communism? Is there anything good about the left?

      I grew up in Chicago and lived there when the Nazis marched in Skokie.

    7. And note the complete lack of evidence that conservatives are the ones who would object to the Skokie case; indeed, despite the very evidence conservative students are less hostile to the legality of offensive speech.

      You are presented with evidence of a proposition. You declare ” I’m just going to surmise that opposite is trie.” There’s no clearer case of willful ignorance. I mean, it’s like a textbook case of self-delusion. You are truly a remarkable man.

  14. I’m pretty sure that link at the end is for the New Yorker, not the New York Times.

    They’re not the same thing, you know.

    1. yes.

      also: the piece he’s citing seems some incredibly specious bullshit

      Ronald Reagan, fifty-five and as spruce as a groom, ran for governor of California in 1966. On the stump, he complained about undergraduate “malcontents,” and, as Election Day neared, he made a point of denouncing invitations issued by students at the University of California, Berkeley, to two speakers: Robert F. Kennedy, who was slated to talk about civil rights, and Stokely Carmichael, who had been asked by the Students for a Democratic Society to deliver the keynote address at a conference on Black Power.

      “This is a student conference, as it should be, held on a campus,” Carmichael, twenty-five, lean and grave in a suit and tie, told a crowd of ten thousand on October 29th. Regulation of speech, he added, amounted to a struggle over “whether or not black people will have the right to use the words they want to use without white people giving their sanction.” Days later, Reagan won the election, and the conservative movement claimed its first major victory,

      fueled by inciting opposition to the Free Speech Movement.

      Apparently historical correlation = causation. “Some shit happened. Therefore that’s WHY they happened”

      Reagan won because he opposed ‘free speech’, apparently. Also, racist.

      she jumps straight from that to talking about Milo. Its a pretty weak + shallow argument.

      1. Are you saying Reagan won because his voters didn’t hear him be racist and anti-free-speech?

        1. I’m saying there’s no evidence that his posture on that subject had anything to do with his victory.

          The author simply describes his posture re: Stokely Charmichal, then goes “and then he won”, as though X-leads-to-Y in some mechanical process.

          Her own reporting showed that there was literally zero effect in polls showing that’s what voters were interested in.

          its possible it mattered; its just that her argument *assumes* it does, rather than demonstrates it.

          that’s all i can do for you right now Tony.

        2. Reagan won because he believed in, and argued persuasively about the moral superiority of the west. And he was able to instill optimism in the general population of the US about the future. And he was a genuinely likable guy.

          1. Also he wasn’t going to be giving any government cash to those young bucks to spend on steak and 40s.

      2. i think part of the problem with her argument is the idea that “left and right” are somehow static, and that the left has “flip flopped” on free speech.

        Another way of looking at it would be to simply ignore the superficial political spectrum labels, and point out that in both cases, disenfranchised, out-of-power groups tend to demand free speech, while the establishment, status-quo tends to want to restrict it.

        iow, its not that the “left” has flip-flopped: its that she’s comparing “counter cultural” movements of the past to the “establishment” of the present. Of course the ‘left’ is going to dislike free speech now that they are in a position (on campuses at least) to control it.

        it has less to do with ideology, and more to do with relative degrees of power.

        1. You raise a very good point.

  15. The only humans who have free speech are teh Russians.

    On the facebook.

    So they can rig the US elections.

    And cause poor, impoverished Hillary, the people’s voice, to be cast into the waste bin of history.

    Sad.

  16. Only 58%? This won’t have any effect on our future body politic.

    1. This won’t have any effect on our future body politic.

      Off the top of my head, that doesn’t sound far-out from the general population. So yeah, probably won’t have any effect.

      1. This assumes people don’t get more anti-free speech over time. If college is the high water mark of free speech idealism, then this indeed be very bad news.

  17. “students do not have the right to attend a campus where protesting is forbidden.”

    Wrong….All students paying for an education are entitled to get that education, therefore protesters are not entitled to interfere with this buying and selling, formerly supported by libertarians as the mutually profitable, population wide enrichment of a free market.

  18. GEEZE!!! I guess they all want to decide what is intolerant and offensive huh? Students are really not educated very well in High School.

  19. “Hike thee to a Nunnery.”

  20. A new study reveals a fact that 58% of students really like to go to a campus where they do not come across offensive or intolerant ideas. As you dig out more so you will find that both somehow liberal and conservative students manifest their interest for such a community. If you talk about Latino and black students so you will also find they agree that it is very essential for students to be a part of campus like that. What I feel that educational institutions have a great part to play in order to ensure campuses which are free from offensive or intolerant ideas. While doing my dissertation with the assistance by Dissertation Avenue UK, I came across this particular topic. I found the importance of keeping campuses free from offensive and intolerant ideas.

  21. I HATE this type of survey. How am I, a natural libertarian (born that way) supposed to convey how I feel about the issue? Bad, bad questions.
    If you asked me whether I wanted a campus free of hate speech, I would say “yes.” If you asked me whether I wanted hate speech to be banned from campus, with penalties and enforcement, I would say, “No, that would be like banning rattles on rattlesnakes.”
    Do I want people to bottle up their hatred, and wait until they can’t contain it? No, I would prefer they use their right to express themselves in speech and song. I want to keep my right to do the same.
    Does the First Amendment protect hate speech? Not very well. No, it doesn’t. It fails regularly. If you asked me that, I’d say “no.” It’s supposed to, of course, but it doesn’t. Only people can protect hate speech.
    I HATE surveys that are skewed to produce a result, especially the ones that ask me if I’m a liberal or a conservative, when what they really want to know is which of “the two parties” I vote with. I don’t vote for authoritarians who plan to be statists in office (authoritarians in business and family and sports teams and at church can do what they want as long as they don’t violate rights of others).
    In short, please make sure you ask the right questions. I’ll bet many who don’t want hate speech don’t think we should send people to jail for it. Ask, “Who should decide whether speech is too offensive?”

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