College Students Want Free Speech ‘Safe Places,’ While Also Recognizing The Importance Of Free Speech

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(RightWingAmericans.Com)- A new poll has revealed that a majority of college students want both “safe spaces” on campus free from “threatening actions, ideas or conversations,” while at the same time believing free speech is an “essential pillar” of American democracy.
The poll was conducted by the Knight Foundation and Gallup, and found 78% of college students were in favor or the “safe spaces” on campus. Further, more than 80% were in favor of creating a “free-speech zone” where pre-approved protests and literature distribution were permitted.
Contrasting those restrictive “free-speech zones” were 97% of college students who said they believe free speech was essential to American democracy.
Regarding the content students want prohibited, 88% said they wanted restrictions on the use of racial slurs in speech; 71% said they wanted restrictions on “costumes that stereotype certain racial or ethnic groups;” roughly half wanted to restrict the display of pornographic materials in dorm rooms; and 17% want to restrict the distribution of Christian pamphlets.
President Donald Trump said all universities that were funded by the federal government in any way need to protect free speech on campus. While a lot of administrators at these universities denounced Trump’s move, most of the students on their campuses support it, with 58% saying they are OK with a ban on federal funding if their free speech rights aren’t protected.
In addition, the poll found that students increasingly feel like they can’t express their true opinions openly, with 63% saying they feel that way now compare to 54% in 2016. Conservative students normally experience greater barriers to this open expression in public. Students who identify as Democrats say they feel more comfortable sharing their views in class than those who identify as Republicans.
That pressure not to speak out comes from their peers and not professors, according to the director of learning and impact at the Knight Foundation, Evette Alexander. She said:
“We understand that [pressure] mostly comes from peers. The professors would be open to hearing different thoughts, but the people who feel uncomfortable usually have a point of view that doesn’t align with the most vocal students in the room. And so they feel like by speaking up, they would expose themselves to retaliation.”
Many groups of conservative students believe the push for “safe spaces” is intertwined with censorship on campus. These safe spaces are often created by universities to shut out viewpoints that are conservative, according to a spokesman for Young America’s Foundation, Spencer Brown. He said:
“In almost every case, safe spaces are set up in response to a conservative speaker visiting campus. The powers that be at a given school issue trigger warnings to spook students, offer them a safe space to hide from harmless words, and ensure that the coddled minds of impressionable youth don’t hear a conservative idea that, God forbid, might make them reconsider the leftist ideas they’re all too often force-fed in the classroom.”