Four in five college students in the United States report censoring their own views while 48% say they are uncomfortable “expressing [their] views on a controversial political topic during an in-class discussion” in a recent survey.
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.”
33% of students surveyed felt that it is “always acceptable” or “sometimes acceptable” to shout down a campus speaker in order to “prevent them from speaking on campus.”
However, 93% of students believe it’s not acceptable to use violence in order to stop a campus speech, according to the report.