by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A new study examining the country’s views on free speech found that 62 percent of students feel they are prevented from saying things they believe, and right-leaning views have taken the hardest hit.
Emily Ekins, the director of polling at the libertarian Cato Institute who conducted the study, told the Washington Free Beacon that both Republicans and Democrats reported it is their more conservative views they are wary of sharing, demonstrating that the left-of-center controls “social power.”
Liberals reported feeling uncomfortable saying they thought Confederate statutes shouldn’t be taken down; that supporting the First Amendment doesn’t equal racism; or that identity politics has gone too far.
Meanwhile, 50 percent of students say the dominant political view on campus is liberal. Only 20 percent believe their campus has a “balanced mix” of political perspectives.
“We don’t see conservatives reporting they are uncomfortable expressing liberal views. It’s the left of center that has the social power,” said Ekins.
The Cato study, titled “The State of Free Speech and Tolerance in America,” breaks down respondents’ familiarity with social-justice keywords, support for hate speech statutes, and views on disciplinary action for student protesters who disrupt speakers.
Liberals were more ready than conservatives to support banning speakers and were less likely to advocate for any form of disciplinary action against students who disrupt a speaker, according to the study.