The Yale Daily News, Yale University’s student publication, reports that nearly 75 percent of Yale’s student body believes the campus community is an unwelcome environment for conservative opinions. The News conducted a survey of the student body and obtained 2,054 responses across the political spectrum, representing 38 percent of the undergraduate population.
About 12 percent of respondents self-identified as “conservative” or “very conservative,” and almost 95 percent of this subset of students said the Yale community does not welcome the expression of their conservative opinions. Meanwhile, two-thirds of “liberal” or “very liberal” respondents agreed that Yale is not welcoming to conservative students.
While 103 Yale students support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, over 60 of these students reported being “uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” discussing their political beliefs on campus. “Anybody who supports Donald Trump or is a Republican is just hated,” said one respondent, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash from liberal students. “I just get the general vibe that Republicans aren’t respected for their beliefs as much as maybe the liberal people are.”
In contrast, over 98 percent of respondents said Yale welcomes liberal students, and among “liberal” or “very liberal” students, 85 percent said they feel comfortable sharing their political views publicly on campus.
The News reports that Jonathan Holloway, dean of Yale College — the undergraduate liberal-arts school at Yale — said the survey results were lamentable but unsurprising. He said some of that is perhaps due to the influence of social media, while also explaining that election years tend to polarize political discussion more than usual. Holloway also noted that many liberal-arts universities have a strong liberal leaning.
For example, in 2015, the Harvard Crimson reported that many conservative students at Harvard feel that their political opinions were unwelcome and disrespected. The College Fix, too, reported recently that a Columbia student believed he would be “physically assaulted” if he wore clothes with conservative images or slogans.
This report is merely the latest evidence that, despite the frequent talk of free speech and tolerance on America’s college campuses, those principles are often not extended to conservative students and faculty.