Sixty-one percent of U.S. college students agree that the climate on their campus prevents some people from expressing their views because others might find them offensive. In 2016, 54% of college students held this view.
These results are based on a 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation survey of 3,014 randomly sampled U.S. college students about First Amendment issues. The survey is an update of a 2016 Knight Foundation/Newseum Institute/Gallup survey on the same topic.
The full report is available for download here: http://kng.ht/freespeech18...
While more students now agree that their campus climate stifles free speech, fewer students now (70%) than in 2016 (78%) favor having an open campus environment that allows all types of speech, even that which is offensive. In contrast, 29% of students now, up from 22% in 2016, would rather campuses be "positive learning environments for all students" by prohibiting certain speech that is offensive or biased.
When students perceive the campus climate as deterring certain people from speaking their minds, they may have conservative students in mind more than others. Sixty-nine percent of college students believe political conservatives can freely and openly express their views on campus. While still a majority, it is far less than the 92% who say the same about political liberals. Between 80% and 94% of students believe other campus groups, including many that have historically faced discrimination, can freely express their views.
Notably, students on both the left and right of the political spectrum tend to think conservatives are less able than other groups to express their views on campus. Sixty-six percent of liberal students and 63% of conservative students believe political conservatives at their college can freely express their views; 68% of Republicans and 67% of Democrats say the same.