16 October, 2021

I Totally Get Why They Do This

Campus Reform | SURVEY: 80% of students are 'self-censoring their viewpoints', many feel uncomfortable speaking up in class

I admit it. I self-censor in public. Perhaps I’m a coward for doing so, but there’s so little tolerance these days for differing opinions. It’s why this blog is semi-anonymous (I don’t post my name anywhere on it, but a determined person could easily figure it out).

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), alongside RealClearEducation and College Pulse, conducted a survey of 37,000 college students enrolled at 159 universities. Among other questions — which were ultimately used to weigh American universities according to their commitments to free speech — the groups tracked students’ willingness to express their ideas.

More than 80% of students “report self-censoring their viewpoints at their colleges at least some of the time, with 21% saying they censor themselves often.”

To that end, only 12% of students report feeling “very comfortable” with “publicly disagreeing with a professor about a controversial topic.”

When asked to identify such uncomfortable topics, 45% of surveyed students identified “abortion.” 43% chose “race,” 41% chose “gun control,” and 40% chose “transgender issues.”

What bothers me the most is that the least tolerant among us seem to be the only ones who don’t feel a need to self-censor. We’re letting them speak for all of us. We need to get over that.

I’ll work on it myself.

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