The majority of conservative and liberal college students believe that they shouldn’t be in a campus environment where there are “intolerant or offensive ideas,” according to a Wednesday report.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released a report on college students’ attitudes towards free speech, self-censorship and guest speakers after contracting YouGov to survey 1,250 college students from two- and four-year universities.
The survey found that while 92 percent of students believe it’s important to hear different beliefs on campus, 58 percent of college students think that it’s important to be on a campus where there aren’t intolerant or offensive beliefs.
The poll asked students to answer how they would react if a peer said something they disagreed with, found offensive, found hurtful and found racist.
“Reactions to speech change, though, when students tell us how they respond to speech they find offensive. Fewer students might try to understand the point of view of their peers when they hear an offensive statement (35%) than when they hear a statement with which they strongly disagree (59%)—a 17 percentage point difference. As figure 1 shows, The proportion of students who might try to understand the point of view of a classmate decreases even further when the classmate says something that the student finds hurtful (28%), or racist (21%),” the report noted.
An overwhelming majority of black and Latino students believe that they shouldn’t have to encounter offensive beliefs either.
“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,” the report added.
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