REPORT: Disturbing number of college students justify shutting down speech with violence

The survey found that a disturbing number of college students on some level find shutting speech down with violence acceptable.

A new survey asked students at 55 American campuses various questions about free speech.

Nearly one in five U.S. college students said they approve of violence in response to speech on campus in at least some instances. 

A survey conducted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Real Clear Education, and College Pulse asked 20,000 students at 55 colleges across the nation questions regarding free speech issues on their campuses. Students were asked whether violence is acceptable to shut down a speaker they didn’t like and if it is acceptable for students to block people from attending an event. 

Acceptance of using violence to stop speech or an event from occurring was at nearly 20 percent.

[RELATED: Survey: Most students favor colleges restricting speech]

One percent of students said that violence is “always” acceptable, 3 percent said it is “sometimes” acceptable,” and 13 percent said it is “rarely acceptable.” That means a total of 17 percent of respondents condoned violence to shut down speech in at least some instances.

[RELATED: Disturbing number of students say hate speech is not free speech, report says]

Results show that self-censorship is also an issue for both conservative and liberal students, but that conservative students are more impacted. 

”Survey responses show that students who identify as Conservative are more likely to report self-censorship than Liberal students (72% vs. 55%). Moderate students fell between the two, with 62% reporting self- censorship,” the report stated. 

The top 5 schools for free speech on this survey are:

  1. University of Chicago

  2. Kansas State University

  3. Texas A&M University

  4. University of California, Los Angeles

  5. Arizona State University

Campus Reform previously wrote a story about the University of Chicago canceling Stephen Douglas, as well as Texas A&M University thanking an anonymous source for publishing personal information about conservative students on Twitter.  There was also an incident where UCLA suspended a professor for refusing to change grading requirements for Black students, and Arizona State University violating the free speech rights of students, resulting in a lawsuit.

The bottom 5 schools on this survey are:

  1. DePauw University

  2. The University of Texas-Austin

  3. Louisiana State University

  4. Dartmouth College

  5. Syracuse University

Campus Reform has reported on an incident at DePauw University where activists disrupted actress Jenna Fischer’s speaking event demanding free housing. Incoming conservative students at the University of Texas-Austin in 2019 were threatened with doxing. A professor at Louisiana State University several months back threatened to “drop students who engage in hate speech.” 

Multiple faculty members at Dartmouth College signed a petition for the school to punish the conservative student newspaper, and a professor at Syracuse University was put on a leave of absence for using the term “Wuhan flu” in his syllabus.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @mn_turn