A recent poll reveals that about three out of four Republican college students refrain from sharing their political views in class out of fear of receiving backlash for their conservative views going against campus politics.
To see if American colleges and universities are the “marketplaces of ideas” they claim to be as the new school year begins, The College Fix commissioned College Fix – an online survey and analytics company focusing on college students – to conduct poll on conservative students in late August. The results were telling.
“A survey of 1,000 Republican and Republican-leaning college students has found that nearly three-quarters of them have withheld their political views in class for fear their grades would suffer,” The College Fix divulged.
Share or keep silent?
By asking the following question, the survey confirmed that conservative speech is suppressed in higher education from coast to coast.
“Have you ever withheld your political views in class for fear that your grades would suffer?” the question asked students.
The results were broken down.
“Seventy-three percent of students who identity as ‘strong Republican’ reported that they had, while 71 percent of students who identify as ‘weak Republican’ said yes,” The College Fix’s Jennifer Kabbany reported. “Even students who identify as Republican-leaning independents indicated they’ve kept quiet: 70 percent reported they have withheld their political views to protect their grades."
Most data in recent decades has indicated that an overwhelming majority of college and university faculty lean to the left, and this has proven to stifle most students from expressing their conservative viewpoints.
“Most surveys over the years have found that academia is dominated by professors who identify as liberal or who are registered Democrats,” Kabanny noted. “With that, The College Fix’s new poll results indicate that, under this atmosphere, a large majority of right-of-center students are concerned that openly disagreeing with their educators will have negative repercussions, with only about 30 percent responding they do not withhold their views.”
The results add more concerns about the current dilemma already identified from high school through grad school.
“We know from Young American’s Foundation that Generation Z is very confused about socialism, capitalism and the American way of life,” Townhall maintained. “We also learned from YAF that America's college and high school students across the political spectrum have held back their real opinions out of fear they would offend a friend.”
YAF Spokesperson Spencer Brown argued that such findings go to prove that conservative groups such as YAF are necessary on American college campuses in order to make up for students’ “poor” classroom experiences.
"This is where bold Young Americans for Freedom activists who work to organize Young America’s Foundation’s iconic campus activism projects and host leading conservatives through YAF’s campus lecture program are filling a significant gap in education," Brown told Townhall last month.
It is contended that Republican self-censorship at the hands of intimidating leftist college professors stifles learning and makes students the victims.
“The status quo doesn’t just hurt Republican students, it hurts liberal students as well,” National Review’s Katharine Timpf insisted. “Think about it: If Republicans are missing out on the valuable learning experience of having their views challenged because they do not feel that they can express them honestly, then liberal students are missing out on the same experience because they don’t have anyone challenging theirs.”
She gave several examples of universities unapologetically declaring their hatred of conservatives.
“[E]arlier this year, administrators at Middlebury College apologized to students who were upset that a conservative speaker had been invited to campus and pledged to do more to prevent conservative speakers in the future,” Timpf recounted. “In 2017, a Clemson University professor declared in a Facebook post that ‘all Republicans’ are ‘racist’ and ‘scum.’ In 2015, a journalism instructor at Mississippi State University compared a conservative student group to the KKK. Back in 2014, a University of Michigan department chairwoman published an article titled ‘It’s Okay To Hate Republicans.’”
Timpf also noted how such an atmosphere detracts from conservative students’ education, arguing that liberal professors should gear their political remarks to generate policy discussion while not demonizing groups of people just because they have different political views.
“If such huge numbers of [conservative students] are really too uncomfortable to share their honest views in the classroom for fear of getting lower grades because of it, then they are not getting the kind of educational experience that they deserve,” she added. “[C]ollege should be a place where people with all different kinds of views can feel free to express them – and have them challenged – so that they can learn and grow, and Republicans are missing out on that sort of valuable expression.”
Feelings revealed – outside the classroom.
A comment section at the bottom of College Pulse’s survey revealed what college Republican students had to say:
- CU Boulder: “You should be inclusive of everyone’s views.” “Ok maybe abortion is bad?” “No not like that.”
- Western Kentucky University: I wrote a 19-page research paper on a Christian pro-life movement. I was the only one in the class that, when presenting my paper, had a “surprise visitor” (the teacher’s very liberal friend) argue [with] me about their views. …
- Notre Dame: I actually got yelled at by a professor for my views on gun control. It wasn’t an argument or anything – just plain one-sided insulting.
- Clemson: I know a guy who chose to write a pro-border wall argumentative essay for our super liberal professor and the prof just wrote “this whole paper is one big fallacy” and bombed him. Me? I wrote about the evils of horseracing. Perfectly safe topic.
- UCSD: Not for fear of a bad grade. But fear of being a social outcast.
- Penn State: “Well I actually have some different thoughts on that.” “Shut up you racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic piece of human garbage!”
- University of Louisville: I am conservative. I would be crucified. I heard enough horror stories from friends and family to keep my mouth shut and avoid politics in class, if at all possible.
- Kansas State: Professor the day after the presidential election kicked two students wearing MAGA hats out of class. I was appalled.
- Mizzou: I’m a conservative, but my essays are very liberal.
- Arizona State: In my sociology class, my professor asked us if we would give our child hormone blockers if they believed they were transgender. One guy said he would rather teach his daughter to love her body the way it is than change it. She [sat] straight up said, “So you would be a bad parent then? What was your name again?” Then she went to type something on her computer. Not a good day for him.
- Alabama: Took a honors English class freshman year and I didn’t know the topic of the class until it started…feminism and sexuality in pop culture. If I had shared any of my opinions with that psychotic uber-liberal communist professor, I guarantee she would have failed me.