A new report from Gallup and the Knight Foundation found that 53% of college students value diversity over free speech if given a choice. According to Insider Higher Ed, the “data is based on telephone interviews with 3,014 traditional-age students (18 to 24) at 100 four-year institutions, both public and private.”
When the study is broken down further, as with most political arguments in today’s climate, demographics are sharply divided over the importance of diversity and free speech. “About 61 percent of men favored free speech rights far more than a diverse and inclusive campus (39 percent). Conversely, 64 percent of women believe that diversity is more important, versus 35 percent who picked free speech.” When broken down by race, “White students tended to value free speech more — 52 percent compared to 47 percent who picked diversity and inclusion. About 68 percent of black students, meanwhile, said diversity was more important compared to 31 percent for free speech.”
This value of diversity over free speech seems to have grown after a 2016 survey found similar results.
In addition to a split among gender and race, the question of political talk on social media discovered surprising results as most respondents believed social media stifles free speech. “About 60 percent of students indicated that too many people block others online with whom they disagree — this is up 12 percentage points from 2016.”
Another strong belief in regards to online debate is that “83 percent of students said that it is too easy for anonymous users to post online.” I completely agree with this and have always said that privacy should be protected online, but no one should be anonymous.