A new study by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says 56% of students want to never be exposed to offensive ideologies on campus.
1,250 American undergraduate students were surveyed by FIRE between May 25 and June 8.
“There’s a difference between saying there is something you shouldn’t say and saying there are things that you have to say by law,” said Dr. Jordan Peterson, a highly controversial professor at the University of Toronto.
“I believe we are crossing a dangerous line, and that line is the requirement being put upon people by government agencies, with the full force of the law behind them, to decide what language categories you are going to use,” said Peterson.
FIRE’s survey also found ideological differences in how students feel about free expression, both inside and outside the classroom. Very liberal students are 14 percentage points more likely than their very conservative peers to feel comfortable expressing their opinions in the classroom.
Additionally, 60 percent of Republican students think they should not have to walk past a protest on campus, while only 28 percent of Democratic students think the same.
“There is clearly a partisan divide in how students perceive free speech on college campuses,” said FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley.
“This further solidifies the importance of FIRE’s mission. Free expression is too important to become a partisan issue in higher education.”
Additionally, FIRE’s survey found that a majority of students want their schools to invite a variety of guest speakers to campus (93 percent), and 64 percent report changing an attitude or opinion after listening to a guest speaker.