POLL: Most College Kids Think PC Culture Snuffs Out Free Speech

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

Most college kids think politically correct culture snuffs out free speech, a Monday poll showed.

A Gallup-Knight Foundation poll demonstrated that 61 percent of students think campus climate impedes free speech, a figure up from 54 percent in 2016.

Fifty-six and 52 percent of students surveyed indicated that free speech and an inclusive society constituted important values, but when asked which one was more important, students selected inclusion over free speech by a 53 percent to 46 percent margin.

Students surveyed pointed to a disparity between the ability of conservatives and liberals to express their political beliefs on college campuses. Ninety-two percent of the students believed liberals could freely express their views, however, only 69 percent of students believed the same applied to conservatives. Students rated Muslims as the second group most hindered from expressing their views, with 80 percent of students believing they could freely share their opinions.

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Sixty-nine percent of students supported colleges canceling planned speeches over worries of violent protests.

Gallup and the journalism nonprofit Knight Foundation conducted the survey of 3,014 U.S. college students. They interviewed a random sample of undergraduate students from Nov. 1 to Dec. 10. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus two percentage points.

“The study shows a rapid evolution in student views of the First Amendment in key areas, underscoring a growing pessimism amongst students about the security of First Amendment rights,” Sam Gill, the Knight Foundation’s communities and impact vice president, said. “The emerging generation has a new and different view of the role free expression plays in our democracy. What they’re saying is, ‘free expression is important, but so is diversity.'”

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