Free Speech College Survey Reveals Majority Of Students Afraid To Express Views In Class

Free Speech College Survey Reveals Majority of Students Afraid to Express Views in Class

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The findings of a recent survey involving University of Wisconsin System (UW System) students shed light on their fear of expressing their opinions on certain subjects within the classroom. The survey, which faced initial resistance from faculty and administrators causing a delay, was distributed to over 80,000 students in November. A total of 10,500 students responded, resulting in a response rate of 12.5%.

The survey encompassed questions regarding self-censorship, viewpoint diversity, and freedom of expression on campus. A majority of the participants expressed their reluctance to listen to opposing perspectives on topics such as COVID-19 vaccines, abortion, and transgender issues.

Concerning climate change, 54% of respondents felt extremely or very comfortable sharing their views in class. However, when it came to transgender issues, 44% admitted feeling uncomfortable or only slightly comfortable expressing their opinions.

Prior to the release of the survey, faculty and staff had apprehensions that the results might be exploited by Republican politicians to criticize the system. However, during a press conference held at UW Oshkosh, System President Jay Rothman stated that people should not fear the findings of the survey.

"We must not shy away from the truth and what the survey reveals. We need to focus on improving ourselves," he expressed. "It is crucial that our universities remain arenas where diverse ideas can be shared, debated, and discussed. Ultimately, this is a bipartisan matter."

Despite students expressing their limited ability to express their viewpoints in class, nearly 60% of respondents stated that instructors encourage a broad range of perspectives during discussions.

During the press conference, Rothman emphasized the need for administrators to ensure that students feel comfortable voicing their opinions.

"We must recognize that some students in our universities simply do not feel at ease sharing their views in the classroom or elsewhere on campus," he stated. "We need to foster a culture that values free expression more openly and ensure that students are aware of their rights under the First Amendment."

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  • adamlewis

    Adam Lewis is a 34-year-old school teacher and blogger who focuses on education. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Florida. Lewis has been teaching since 2004 and has taught in both public and private schools. He is currently a teacher at a private Christian school in Florida.