“the findings coincided with the contentious events surrounding the 2020 presidential election at a time when Americans were deeply politically polarized”
This is one of the reasons why taxpayers should not be expected to make college “free.”
Inside Higher Ed reports:
Afraid to Speak Up or Out
The percentage of college students who believe the political and social climate on their campus prevents people from freely expressing themselves rose from 54.7 percent in 2019 to 63.5 percent in 2021, according to a new survey conducted by Heterodox Academy.
At the same time, the percentage of students who describe themselves as reluctant to speak freely on certain topics deemed controversial was far lower—nearly 41 percent felt that way in 2020, according to the nonpartisan education research organization. The survey also found that 39.5 percent of students felt reluctant to freely discuss political topics in 2021, and 30.5 percent and 31.8 percent of students, respectively, in those years were hesitant to discuss religious topics.
The survey found that students nonetheless overwhelmingly favor free and open expression among themselves and others on campus, with the percentage of those supporting it rising from 85.4 percent in 2020 to 87.4 percent in 2021.
Heterodox Academy noted that the findings coincided with the contentious events surrounding the 2020 presidential election at a time when Americans were deeply politically polarized.
The results of the survey left observers concerned about the effects of the perception of stifled expression on college campuses and about whether that perception is rooted in reality.
The survey report “points to a paradox,” said Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, director of the Campus Free Expression Project of the Bipartisan Policy Center. “It says that students value open discourse and free expression, and at the same time it reports a crisis-level killing of discourse. All of us need to be focused on this paradox; it’s at the core of so much we’re thinking about.”
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