Poll: Roughly 60 Percent of Students Fear Expressing Their Views in Higher Education

There is a new poll out and it is strikingly similar to the polls previously featured on this blog on free speech and intellectual diversity in higher education.  The Buckley annual survey found that almost 60 percent of college students fear sharing an opinion in classrooms or on campuses. That tracks other polls by different groups.  Yet, colleges and universities continue to exclude Republican and conservative faculty members and maintain environments of speech intolerance.The poll shows a sharp increase from just last year with 63% reporting feeling intimidated in sharing opinions different than their peers. That is almost identical to the 65 percent found in other polls.

The poll of over 800 students included many liberal students, as reflected in the 67 percent who would require all professors and administrators to make statements in favor of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Half of students believe “America is inextricably linked to white supremacy” and another 33 percent would prefer to live in a socialist system.

The poll tracks earlier polls showing a rising view of viewpoint intolerance that now characterizes higher education in America. That intolerance is reflected in the overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal makeup of faculties.

new survey of 65 departments in various states found that 33 do not have a single registered Republican. For these departments, the systemic elimination of Republican faculty has finally reached zero, but there is still little recognition of the crushing bias reflected in these numbers. Others, as discussed below, have defended the elimination of conservative or Republican faculty as entirely justified and commendable. Overall, registered Democrats outnumbered registered Republicans by a margin of over 10-1.

The survey found 61 Republican professors across 65 departments at seven universities while it also found 667 professors identified as Democrats based on their political party registration or voting history.

While there may be a couple professors missed on either side of this ideological divide, most faculty will privately admit that it is rare to find self-identified Republicans or conservatives on many faculties. Most faculties are overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal. Diversity generally runs from the left to the far left.

Another survey found that only nine percent of law professors identified as conservative. The virtual absence of Republican or conservative members on many faculties are just shrugged off by many academics.   It is the subject of my recent publication in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. The article entitled “Harm and Hegemony: The Decline of Free Speech in the United States.

Notably, a 2017 study found 15 percent of faculties were conservative. This is the result of years of faculty replicating their own ideological preferences and eradicating the diversity that once existed on faculties. When I began teaching in the 1980s, faculties were undeniably liberal but contained a significant number of conservative and libertarian professors. It made for a healthy and balanced intellectual environment. Today such voices are relatively rare and faculties have become political echo chambers, leaving conservatives and Republican students increasingly afraid to speak openly in class.

The trend is the result of hiring systems where conservative or libertarian scholars are often rejected as simply “insufficiently intellectually rigorous” or “not interesting” in their scholarship. This can clearly be true with individual candidates but the wholesale reduction of such scholars shows a more systemic problem. Faculty insist that there is no bias against conservatives, but the obviously falling number of conservative faculty speaks for itself.

As discussed earlier, the editors of the legal site Above the Law have repeatedly swatted down objections to the loss of free speech and viewpoint diversity in the media and academia. In a recent column, they mocked those of us who objected to the virtual absence of conservative or libertarian faculty members at law schools.

Senior editor Joe Patrice defended “predominantly liberal faculties” based on the fact that liberal views reflect real law as opposed to junk law.  (Patrice regularly calls those with opposing views “racists,” including Chief Justice John Roberts because of his objection to race-based criteria in admissions as racial discrimination). He explained that hiring a conservative academic was akin to allowing a believer in geocentrism (or that the sun orbits the earth) to teach at a university.

It is that easy. You simply declare that conservative views shared by a majority of the Supreme Court and roughly half of the population are not acceptable to be taught.

We have previously discussed the worrisome signs of a rising generation of censors in the country as leaders and writers embrace censorship and blacklisting. The latest chilling poll was released by 2021 College Free Speech Rankings after questioning a huge body of 37,000 students at 159 top-ranked U.S. colleges and universities. It found that sixty-six percent of college students think shouting down a speaker to stop them from speaking is a legitimate form of free speech.  Another 23 percent believe violence can be used to cancel a speech. That is roughly one out of four supporting violence.

This has been an issue of contention with some academics who believe that free speech includes the right to silence others.  Berkeley has been the focus of much concern over the use of a heckler’s veto on our campuses as violent protesters have succeeded in silencing speakers, including a speaker from the ACLU discussing free speech.  Both students and some faculty have maintained the position that they have a right to silence those with whom they disagree and even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech.  At another University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display.

In the meantime, academics and deans have said that there is no free speech protection for offensive or “disingenuous” speech.  CUNY Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek showed how far this trend has gone. When conservative law professor Josh Blackman was stopped from speaking about “the importance of free speech,”  Bilek insisted that disrupting the speech on free speech was free speech. (Bilek later cancelled herself and resigned after she made a single analogy to acting like a “slaveholder” as a self-criticism for failing to achieve equity and reparations for black faculty and students).

There are now a wide array of polls and surveys showing a rising sense of viewpoint intolerance and a lack of ideological diversity on faculties. When confronted, faculty often shrug and say that the students are simply wrong about speech intolerance. They also dismiss the importance of labels (even self-reported party affiliations). Few, however, seriously deny that faculties are now overwhelmingly, if not exclusive, Democratic or liberal. Intellectual diversity today on faculties often runs from the left to the far left.

I frankly do not understand why professors want to maintain this one-sided environment in hiring. I was drawn to academia by the diversity of viewpoints and intellectual challenges on campuses.  However, the lack of diversity works to the advantage of those on the “correct” side of this new orthodoxy. Conversely, those with dissenting views are often targeted or isolated on faculties. They risk the loss of everything that gives an intellectual life meaning from publishing to speaking opportunities. For faculty, the viewpoint intolerance seen by students is magnified a hundred times over for those seeking to enter or to advance in teaching.

94 thoughts on “Poll: Roughly 60 Percent of Students Fear Expressing Their Views in Higher Education”

  1. I used to use the librarian’s services to look up what my professors wrote about, then write a paper favorable to the way the think. It made it easy to carry a 3.8 all the way through my masters! Don’t fight them, join them.

          1. From time-to-time, a little more ‘lighten up Francis’ -type moments are desperately needed on this blog. Thanks for the kind words.

  2. What this tells me is that 40% aren’t so cowled which I think is good news. It’s estimated the patriots in colonial America accounted for just under 40% of the population. So bottom line is that we have the same team as in 1776 and the Dims don’t look half as formidable as the 16th The Queen’s Lancers aka Regiment of (Light) Dragoons or as good in a scarlet uniform.

    “Issue the orders, sir, and I will storm hell!” ~ Gen. Anthony Wayne responding to Geo. Washington)

  3. Diversity [dogma] (i.e. color judgment, class-based bigotry) is politically congruent (“=”). Diversity (i.e. individual) is verboten, taboo in progressive liberal club.

    1. Poor Barry, can’t win an argument so he has to censor or cancel anyone who disagrees with his emotion-based policy making.

      Failure is not an attractive scent Barry. You stink

    2. The Constitution is conservative.

      The Communist Manifesto is liberal.

      Americans are conservative.

      Communists are liberal.


      Article 1, Section 8

      The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes,…to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare…

      General Welfare is All Well Proceed – Infrastructure as Roads, Water, Internet, Electricity, Sewer, Post Office, Trash, etc., commodities and services not provided by the private sector.

      1. Read it: Debt, Defense and General Welfare.

        “That’s all, Folks!”

        Move on to regulation which includes ONLY: The value of money, commerce among the States, and land and naval Forces.

        There’s your government, Folks, that’s it.


    3. After reading a column about students basically not being allowed to express themselves due to pressure from AUTHORITIES and for the need to actually graduate with decent grades Barry calls the subjugated class snowflakes. The students that will actually suffer if they speak their mind are not the snowflakes, they need to ne silent or fail, it is the Barrys of the world that are the snowflakes because they can’t countenance a different opinion.

      Barry, you are a little fascist.

  4. Couple this with troubling levels of incompetence and fragility in the under 35, and yep – we’ve got quite a storm brewing. The post-enlightenment West just might be done in a few generations, folks. The irony of calling themselves ‘democratic’ will never stop being jarring to those that saw *actual* tyranny in the 20th century, as opposed to having your parents still bring you snacks and scolding your teachers for you in college. This has all gone beyond ludicrous to, as the Professor might say, ‘chilling’. It really, really doesn’t look good for freedom going forward.

    Can you imagine these people that can’t name all 50 states or quote the Constitution as judges? If not, you should probably start, because at some point they will be.

  5. This kind of group think is a dangerous thing. The allowance of only one viewpoint has not turned out well in history. If I may, I would like to offer an explanation of this point in history. A theory came about and anyone who spoke against this theory was ostracized. This theory was endorsed by Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Margaret Sanger, Alexander Graham Bell and hundreds of others. Legislation was passed in New York and California to implement this theory. This idea molded public opinion for half a century. This was the eugenics theory. The crux of the idea was the elimination of the undesirable members of society. I repeat, anyone who did not agree was shouted down, called blind to reality and were said to be just plain ignorant. After World War Two these believers in the eugenics theory disappeared but not until millions of so called inferior people were put to death. There is a prominent theory today that is causing massive death by starvation and disease because they say that the science is settled. I’ll let you figure out what theory I am writing about. In the past the group think did not just disappear. The result should make one sick at heart.

    1. Soon, the World will not want to attend American universities, then those universities will go broke. Fine with me. I graduated 1979. What a difference from then until now, unrecognizable.

  6. Many students would be better served by entering the trades upon graduation or attending a vocational education instutution. The demand for workers is much higher for skilled trade occupations than it is for underwater womyn’s basket weaving or professional protesting. Apprentice programs actually pay wages during the training and the education costs are minimal.

    Here is an interesting interactive webpage from Georgetown University showing statistics for Return on Investment and factors up to 40 years of potential net earnings for 4500 institutes of higher education/vocational colleges.


    The trade schools often score surprisingly better than I would have expected and I imagine offer a far more productive learning environment than the drama and politicization imposed by too many universities.

    1. Smart plumbers, electricians and other such workers can earn big bucks with the added advantage that their jobs can’t be shipped out to India.

    2. Many students would be better served by entering the trades upon graduation

      Not only that, but corporate offices are finding graduates are ill prepared for business. Businesses have to spend a lot to train the degreed know nothings to get them to be profitable for the company. ie, producing more than their salary/benefits. Some companies are recruting non grads and interning/training them. Since they have to do all the training anyway.

      1. Worked for an organization of about 1100 employees, most with accounting, finance, or information system degrees.

        Starting in the mid 1990’s we’re forced to revamp internal to teach college graduates how to write, teach people finance with degrees how to use financial calculators, provide everyone remedial courses on basic statistics, and in many cases even show people how to sort a column of numbers in excel.

        1. “Starting in the mid 1990’s we’re forced to revamp . . .”

          An architect told me the following story:

          We don’t hire architects from the “artsy” schools of architecture. They don’t know the difference between a flat head and a phillips screwdriver.

    3. If things getting boring or just don’t workout they could just apply their efforts toward Scrapping for a living:

  7. There are no workplaces in American where freedom of speech and freedom of inquiry are stifled to a greater extent than at our colleges and universities.

  8. “…another 33 percent would prefer to live in a socialist system.”

    Can we airdrop “them” into Venezuela with only the clothes on “their” backs? What if we say, “Pretty please?”

    1. “Try being a professor….”

      I’d rather be unarmed, at night, surrounded by ravenous coyotes. At least then, I’d have a chance.


  9. Sunlight is the best disinfective and these prog/left charlatans hide in their dark caves of mutual affirmation for safety. They know that true and open discussions would blow their ideologies to kingdom come.

  10. While the polls and what is happening is concerning, I am not nearly so worried as many are about what is happening. This is a single turn in a big wheel and this too shall pass.

    Think about it this way, with all of the lack of academic political diversity and control of various media and academic institutions, clearly half of the country is not buying it. That says out loud they are failing and badly. So they will become more shrill and louder causing even more to turn away. Eventually the crowd will either tune them out or turn on them.

    This is not the first time it has happened I. Our history and I seriously doubt it will be the last.

    The funny thing for me is the kids themselves know it is stupid and when asked out of the spotlight, they freely admit it. It will take some spark to ignite that fire, but it will happen. It always does.

    1. Quiet Man, it is likely that there will be a turnaround, but that starts from a sub-par place, and one has to wonder if we will reach where we were before the next one in the other direction. It might look like a continuous sine curve, but it is declining.

      There is also a chance that at a turn like this has happened so many times in history, America, as we know it, could disappear. America is an aberration historically. You and I can discount that fear because our timelines are short, but our grandchildren and great-grandchildren can’t.

      1. Do you think we have not been here as a people and nation before? Do you think infighting among us is new? Do you think you are the first with this worry?

        This is nothing. A blip. My grandparents born in the 1890’s worried about us and our nation. My parents worried about us and our nation. It is what we do as a nation.

        Let me see….. a Civil War, two world wars, Vietnam, Watergate, war on drugs, now gender and identity wars. In the last 100 hundred years, we have had three true crises of culture. I remember when the adults thought all the boys were going to turn into girls because of their hair. Then I remember the Moral Majority (that was neither) screaming our country was going down the toilet because we lost touch with god.

        This is nothing. It will pass. People will still get married, work, and raise families. Want to know how I understand? I was one of those wild long hairs going to hell and ended up getting married and raising a family the entire time working.

        This will be history for our grand children and they will laugh at us.

        1. One always worries about the future. Do you think we should not have worried about the Civil War? Do you think such worries are fanciful?

          Should the people have worried when Hitler legally took office? How about Stalin? What does history tell us? Our type of society is very fragile. If it wasn’t, the French Revolution would have succeeded.

          “This will be history for our grand children and they will laugh at us.”

          Do you think the Civil War grandchildren laughed at the Civil War? Do you think people today laugh at it?

          Vigilance has protected America. Do you think it is not necessary today?

      2. The Quiet Man, S. Meyer,
        I think you both bring up good points.
        I do see nearly 50% of the American population rejecting some or much of this woke nonsense as a good thing.
        Flip side, we have the other 50% who seem to have this maniacal need to force their view points on others, or the need to silence any opposing view points. Just the other day I read about traditional feminists protesting a CA law that allows for men who identify as women to be housed in women’s prisons and were attacked. NPR ran an article about this feminist group, but failed to mention why they were protesting the law: A man who identified as a woman, in a women’s prison, raped and got his cell mate pregnant.

        As S. Meyer suggests, America as we know it may disappear. While I am still young enough I could see it, it is my own children whom a fear for the most.

        I would add, the American Empire may come to an end, and not by some social cultural revolution, but from years if not decades of bad policy. From domestic, to foreign, to fiscal, to economic, etc. bad policies all around. Could be the end is a whimper, or a bang. I do think it is coming.

  11. Bucky’s annual survey of college students fear sharing an opinion in classrooms or on campuses. That tracks other polls by different groups.

    Peru politics is on fire


    Peru has gone through years of political turmoil, with multiple leaders accused of corruption, frequent impeachment attempts, and presidential terms cut short. The latest legal battle began in October, when the prosecutor’s office filed a constitutional complaint against Pedro Castillo for allegedly leading “a criminal organization” to profit from state contracts and for obstructing investigations.
    Congress summoned Pedro Castillo last week to respond to accusations of “moral incapacity” to govern.
    Pedro Castillo has called the allegations “slander” by groups seeking “to take advantage and seize the power that the people took from them at the polls.”

    The 53-year-old leftist teacher-turned-president had survived two previous attempts to impeach him since he began his term in July 2021.
    But after Wednesday’s attempt to dissolve Congress his allies abandoned him and regional powers underlined the need for democratic stability.

    “The United States categorically rejects any extra-constitutional act by President Castillo to prevent Congress from fulfilling its mandate,” the U.S. ambassador to Peru, Lisa Kenna, wrote on Twitter.

    Dina Boluarte is Peru’s new President.

  12. I just finished reading an OP-Ed in the WSJ about the suicide of the liberal arts. Then I see this. What a sad time for learning. My favorite two professors in college were avowed liberals while I was a Reagan Republican. They knew it but taught courses on political philosophy and endorsed my application for a graduate assistant-ship (and served on my thesis committee). There is no doubt that this would not happen today. Alas for academia, true learning, and for out country.


  13. “Another 23 percent believe violence can be used to cancel a speech. That is roughly one out of four supporting violence.”

    Next time Turley is out with his wife, someone should use a vulgar epithet about his wife in front of him and see if he believes in violence to cancel speech.

    1. Knowing what we know about the good professor, as long as the person using the vulgar epithet would not appear to be violent in the physical sense, likely the professor would simply walk away.
      Or, perhaps engage with the person as to why the vulgar epithet and discuss the merits of the 1stA.

  14. Interesting, but unsurprising poll results. My nephew is a sophomore in college and recently presented a group project analyzing the controversy around Andrew Tate. One girl fainted and seven of 32 students went out of their way to complain to the professor because they felt the neutral presentation was misogynistic and triggering. College is no longer an environment in which young people can explore new ideas and challenge old ones, which is unfortunate.

    1. Funny how what is old is new again. You could make a real killing today selling Victorian Fainting Couches.

    2. Since there is no place for discussion of personal thought for 2/3 of students now is the time to cease all financial support of these institutions.

      1. I completely agree! If I had children or influence over anyone considering attending university, I would try to dissuade them and offer up alternative, such as the trades or entrepreneurship,

  15. Obviously the easily offended inept inmates in academia are running the academic asylum without realizing that one can squeeze a balloon only so far before it explodes.

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