Majority of Republican, Democratic College Students ‘Intimidated’ to Share Beliefs

College students / AP
• October 27, 2015 12:33 pm


Majorities of both Republican and Democratic college students say they are "intimidated" to share beliefs that differ from those of their professors.

According to a recent survey of U.S. college students sponsored by the William F. Buckley, Jr., Program at Yale University, 56 percent of Republican college students and 53 percent of their Democratic counterparts have often felt intimidated to voice beliefs different from their professors. In contrast, only 37 percent of independent students report feeling this way.

Overall, almost half of college students say they have felt intimidated to express beliefs different from those of their teachers. Precisely half have frequently felt intimidated to voice opinions that diverge from those of their fellow classmates.

The survey indicates that college students are concerned about free speech on their campuses. Ninety-five percent of U.S. college students describe the issue of free speech as important to them, and 72 percent believe their school should be doing more to encourage diversity of opinion in the classroom and across campus. Moreover, 63 percent of college students label political correctness on campuses a problem.

However, conservative college students are more likely to value their right to free speech than their liberal counterparts.

While 73 percent of college students say the First Amendment is important and should be respected, liberal students are three times more likely than conservative ones to call the First Amendment "outdated."

Specifically, 30 percent of liberal students believe the amendment protecting free speech to be outdated and in need of change.