We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on campuses with rising speech codes and ambiguous rules barring “microaggressions.” A small percentage of students and faculty often push for such speech codes and regulation. However, it is often difficult for students and faculty to object at the risk of being called intolerant or microaggressors. Now there is a Gallup poll confirming that most students feel that they are no longer able to speak freely at college due to this minority of speech intolerant students and faculty. Ninety percent of Pomona students said that they did not feel free to speak openly or freely. It is an indictment of not just Pomona but many of our colleges.
Nine out of ten students said that “the campus climate prevents them from saying something others might find offensive.” Nearly two-thirds of faculty feel the same. Seventy-five percent of conservative and moderate students strongly agree that the school climate hinders their free expression. Notably, that is “nearly 2.5 times higher than very liberal students.”
That is hardly surprising. Many of the controversies that we have discussed center on conservative speech. It often seems like faculty eager to limit speech strive to be placed on these committees and drives these agendas. Regrettably, faculty members have been intimidated by Administrators like Northwestern’s President who routinely support demands for speech limits or disciplinary actions for alleged intolerant or offensive speech. The speech codes have extended to discussions in classrooms.
Faculty and administrators have sacrificed free speech at institutions like Pomona to the loss of their institutions and their students. Higher education is based first and foremost on the guarantee of the free exchange of ideas. At places like Pomona, faculty has allowed the destruction of the foundation of a leading educational institution. The poll is a failure of the first order for academicians.