New College Survey Confirms Our Worse Fears About the Future of Free Speech


Free Speech Zone


While the overwhelming majority of college students believe the First Amendment is secure, there is reason to believe that our First Amendment is in serious trouble.

A Gallup survey, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Newseum Institute, came up with some predictable and concerning results.

  • 27% of college students believe colleges should be allowed to restrict expression of politically offensive views.
  • 69% think colleges should have policies against slurs and other potentially offensive language.
  • 63% think schools should restrict costumes that stereotype racial or ethnic groups.

This isn’t very different from other recent surveys.

A Yale survey released October 26th of last year revealed some alarming views held by college students when it comes to free speech though there was some good news.

Most of the 800 college students surveyed said campus free speech is important and nearly nine in ten agreed that there is value in listening to differing opinions but when the details fleshed out, it showed a lack of understanding of the First Amendment and its importance.

Nearly one-third of the students didn’t know the First Amendment was the amendment that protected free speech and another third said the First Amendment does not protect hate speech.

So-called hate speech is exactly what the First Amendment protects of course.

More than half want speech codes, another 72% want disciplinary action against a student or faculty member who uses language that someone deems to be racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive. Almost half would be too intimidated to share their beliefs with professors if they differ in opinion and 76% prefer “trigger warnings.”

A whopping 52% believe that people should be forbidden from speaking on campus if they have a history of engaging in alleged hate speech.

When those surveyed talk about racial stereotypes, they are talking about non-racist parties and events.

Cinco de Mayo was an opportunity for college students to have fun as Mexicans have fun on the day, but no longer. We now have racist cupcakes and in California, a sorority is being severely punished for having a Taco Tuesday to raise funds. Some attendees wore “culturally insensitive” attire such as “sombreros”.

Racist Cupcake
Racist Cupcake

Dartmouth expelled a non-Mexican student in May for wearing a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo. They thought he was making fun of Mexicans but he was just having fun and enjoying their holiday.

A Latino group on the campus of Northwestern University said Cinco de Mayo is a holiday to commemorate Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla and it is not a day to have a sombrero-themed party.

In a letter sent to students via email, the group leaders said:

“Some of our peers choose to throw ‘Mexican-themed’ parties that are culturally insensitive, offensive, and detrimental to the Northwestern community,” said the letter, which noted that this was a problem year after year. “Drinking tequila shots, eating tacos, and wearing sombreros do not commemorate Mexican culture; on the contrary, that offends, marginalizes, and isolates many of our friends, classmates, and community members, and casts our entire community in poor light.”

The people who signed the letter are not Mexican.

At Yale, the campus was in turmoil about an overheard “white girls only” remark at an off-campus fraternity party, and were debating over whether students had a right to wear transgressive Halloween costumes.

They bemoaned not having “safe spaces.”

By now, most have seen the shrieking banshee video out of Yale:

In campuses in Southern California and Arizona, students are demanding administrators cut ties with the Border Patrol agency because students, especially illegal alien students, feel unsafe. They want trigger warnings if they are on campus for job fairs.

Last year, Dean Mary Spellman at Claremont McKenna stepped down after she sparked a campus protest and hunger strikes by two students over her email to a Latina student saying she would work to serve those who “don’t fit our CMC mold.”

Speakers have been banned because they are not liberal but people like Gaddafi and Angela Davis are welcomed and in Davis’s case, she will be the commencement speaker at the University of Hawaii next month.

A radical group of about 50 students at Rutgers got Condi Rice banned. It was driven by a handful of Marxist professors, including a large number of Muslim students in the Muslim Student Association, and very far-left instigators and enablers. They claimed the protest wasn’t against free speech but rather against Dr. Rice receiving an honorary degree. The degree offer was withdrawn.

Political Correctness enforces ideological or political orthodoxy and worse yet is shuts down debate and discussion with blatant censorship and sustained campaigns to delegitimize honest inquiries and free expression. “Offenders” are hounded into silence.

An NYU professor in an appearance on Morning Joe discussed the institutionalization of the PC culture. The problem comes from the students, he says, in that they are the ones banning visitors, insisting on trigger warnings, speech codes and safe rooms.

His belief is that it will be with us for a very long time, partly because of the helicopter parenting and partly because of the extreme polarization of the political left and right viewpoints.

He ended with the comment that the professors are teaching students to think in distorted ways.