The Corner

Education

Free Speech on Campus Keeps Eroding

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has released a new report on the state of free speech on American college campuses. They’ve done that before, and, this year, the number of schools included was significantly increased. What it showed is hardly surprising — further erosion of support for free speech.

In today’s Martin Center article, Grace Hall writes about the findings.

Here’s a most-disturbing paragraph: “Sixty-six percent of students report some level of acceptance of shouting down a speaker to prevent them from speaking on campus. This is up 4 percentage points from last year. Twenty-three percent of students say it is acceptable to resort to violence in order to stop a speech on campus, up from 18 percent last year. These numbers are concerning. If students are not able to hear opinions that vary greatly from their own, how will they ever grow or learn to defend their own opinions? Disagreements are a part of everyday life, yet some college students today seem to expect to be treated with kid gloves, to never have to use reason to discuss difficult topics.”

Evidently, the idea that students hear so often from teachers and professors, that “bad” speech should be suppressed, continues to spread.

She correctly concludes, “While some schools do better than others, there is room for improvement at all of them. Colleges and universities in the US are responsible for developing the future Americans of tomorrow.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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