US Poll Shows 51% Of College Students Say It’s Fine To Shout Down ‘Offensive And Harmful’ Speakers

US Poll Shows 51% Of College Students Say It’s Fine To Shout Down ‘Offensive And Harmful’ Speakers and One Fifth Say Violence is Acceptable, by John Villasenor.

College students’ views of the First Amendment are of profound importance for multiple reasons. First, colleges and universities are places where intellectual debate should flourish.  … Second, what happens on campuses often foreshadows broader societal trends. Today’s college students are tomorrow’s attorneys, teachers, professors, policymakers, legislators, and judges. …

College students’ views on the First Amendment are important for another reason as well: Students act as de facto arbiters of free expression on campus. The Supreme Court justices are not standing by at the entrances to public university lecture halls ready to step in if First Amendment rights are curtailed. If a significant percentage of students believe that views they find offensive should be silenced, those views will in fact be silenced.

To explore the critical issue of the First Amendment on college campuses, during the second half of August I conducted a national survey of 1,500 current undergraduate students at U.S. four-year colleges and universities. The survey population was geographically diverse, with respondents from 49 states and the District of Columbia. …

The First Amendment is very broad. There are, however, some exceptions. Under the 1969 Brandenburg v. Ohio decision, speech that “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action” is outside First Amendment protection. “True threats” are also unprotected … There are other exceptions as well; for example, obscenity can fall outside the scope of First Amendment protection. …

While “hate speech” is odious, as long as it steers clear of well-established exceptions to the First Amendment such as those noted above, it is constitutionally protected. The survey results, however, indicate that many college students believe that hate speech is unprotected.

Results (see link for full results):

  • Only 39% think “hate speech” is protected. 44% think it isn’t. 51% of males say it is protected, 38% of females say not.
  • 51% say it is acceptable to disrupt a speech by loudly and repeatedly shouting so that the audience cannot hear the speaker.
  • 19% say it is acceptable for a student group opposed to the speaker to use violence to prevent the speaker from speaking.
  • 62% thought that an on-campus organization hosting the event is legally required to ensure that the event includes not only the offensive speaker but also a speaker who presents an opposing view.
  • 53% preferred a learning environment for all students by prohibiting certain speech or expression of viewpoints that are offensive or biased against certain groups of people, over an open learning environment where students are exposed to all types of speech and viewpoints, even if it means allowing speech that is offensive or biased against certain groups of people.
  • The percentages for Democrats and Republicans differed a little, but not much.

So what the heck are college students learning if not the basics? Way too many are way too clueless.

If this is the next generation in the West, the Marxists have won and Western civilization is doomed.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific, Matthew