New poll shows college students hedging on free speech rights

A new poll shows college students place diversity and inclusion above free speech rights. Administered in the Fall of 2017 by Gallup and the Knight Foundation, the poll found 53 percent of students wanted diversity and 46 percent free speech. Men favored free speech over diversity and inclusion, 61 percent versus 39 percent, whereas women favored diversity over free speech, 64 to 35 percent. More white students than black students stood with free speech. (Inside Higher Education, March 12, 2018, by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf)

Fifty-six percent 0f students place a high premium on protecting free speech and want an open learning environment with all types of speech, but over half favor campus speech codes and two-thirds agree that the Constitution should not protect hate speech. A Knight Foundation executive said students expressed tension about the First Amendment as they want to promote both free expression and a more diverse society. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 12, 2018, by Emma Kerr)

Seventy percent of the college students favored an open learning environment in contrast to 78 percent in 2016. Students were also less confident about the security of First Amendment freedoms particularly freedom of the press with only 60 percent seeing it as secure over against 81 percent in 2016. (WebWire, March 12, 2018, press release)

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