SURVEY: Most college grads say campus climate prevents them from expressing beliefs

  • A recent study found that 70 percent of students wish for a learning environment open to all speech and viewpoints.
  • A separate Gallup poll shows that two-thirds of recent college graduates do not “strongly agree” with the statement that they were comfortable voicing minority opinions in class.

A recent study found that more than two-thirds of U.S. college students said that their college campus environments prevent people from expressing beliefs due to the possibility of seeming offensive.

The study, conducted by the Knight Foundation and College Pulse, found that 68 percent of U.S. college students say that “the climate on my campus prevents some people from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive.”  

“As a religious person, I’m worried my opinions may be suppressed in a college classroom environment"   

A separate Gallup poll, released just last year, showed similar results: that roughly two-thirds of recent college graduates did not feel extremely comfortable sharing opinions in class that did not align with the majority.

[RELATED: 'Shouldn't have to do it': Texas Gov. records himself signing campus free speech bill (VIDEO)]

In a June post, Gallup noted that it had surveyed graduates who had obtained their bachelor's degree from 2013 to 2018 by asking them to respond to the following statement: “I felt very comfortable sharing ideas or opinions in class that were probably only held by a minority of people.” 

Using a one to five scale, one being “Strongly Disagree” and five being “Strongly Agree,” the participants rated how well they aligned with the statement. The poll found that just one-third of those surveyed stated that they “strongly agree” that they were comfortable sharing a minority perspective in class.

[RELATED: Nearly a dozen U.S. senators sponsor campus free speech resolution]

Sixty-four percent of grads surveyed indicated that they agreed with the statement, while only 14 percent suggested that they disagreed.

 When divided by gender, 58 and 68 percent of female and male graduates responded with a four or five, respectively, while 17 and 11 percent of female and male graduates answered with a one or two, respectively.

“As a religious person, I’m worried my opinions may be suppressed in a college classroom environment,” a rising college freshman, who wished to remain anonymous, told Campus Reform regarding her religious beliefs. “I want people to understand that just because I don’t agree with someone’s lifestyle doesn’t make my worldview less valid and it doesn’t mean I don’t still care about them as a person.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ethanycai



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Ethan Cai
Ethan Cai | New Hampshire Campus Correspondent

Ethan Cai is a Campus Reform Intern and New Hampshire Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse. He is a Freshman at Dartmouth College studying Quantitative Government Analysis with a minor in Economics.

20 Articles by Ethan Cai