About 41 percent of the students say that hate speech should not be protected according to the first amendment, according to a new survey.
Only 58 percent said hate speech should be protected by the amendment, which guarantees American & # 39; s a right to freedom of expression, according to the survey of 4,407 students from Miami-based Knight Foundation.
& # 39; There is a new class of students on college campuses, increasingly diverse in background and ideology, struggling with the reach and limits of freedom of expression and what it means in the 21st century & # 39 ;, said Sam Gill, Knight Foundation vice president for learning and communities.
& # 39; Studying their views is the key to understanding the impact they can have on rights that are fundamental to our democracy, & # 39; he added.
This graph illustrates the proportion of students who think that certain activities are always, sometimes or never acceptable
Opinions split dramatically according to gender lines, while only 41 percent of college women said protecting freedom of expression was more important than inclusiveness, compared to 71 percent of college students.
More than two thirds (68 percent) of the respondents said they felt that students could not openly express their views because of a campus climate where people are afraid to offend their peers.
Only 31 percent did not agree that such an environment exists.
These opinions of young Americans on the issue of freedom of expression are problematic – if it is well intended, said Ken Paulson, the director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University.
& # 39; Protecting hate speech is actually the reason we have a first amendment & # 39 ;, he told DailyMail.com. & # 39; We do not need protection for freedom of expression if everyone agrees. The protection we need is for speech that others may find offensive. & # 39;
This graph illustrates the gender gap in opinions about whether people are generally too easily offended, or whether they should be more careful in the language they use
The survey comes because more colleges choose to cancel or invite non-controversial speakers to their campuses due to student outrage.
Middlebury College in Vermont, for example, apologized to students earlier this year after receiving a negative response to inviting a conservative speaker on campus. College officials also promised to do more to prevent invitations to such speakers.
& # 39; The big difference between today and a decade ago is that conservatives are the major driving force behind freedom of speech on campuses & # 39 ;, said Paulson.
The report also shows that more than half (53 percent) are in favor of protecting freedom of expression, while 46 percent believe it is important to promote an inclusive and hospitable society & # 39 ;.
& # 39; The constitution was not meant to prevent your feelings from being hurt & # 39 ;, said Paulson, also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today. & # 39; It was designed so that every American could say or do what they wanted and did it without being punished. To understand freedom of expression, you must understand that the minority is protected against the majority and the government. & # 39;
This graph illustrates what people from different religions think is more important: inclusiveness or free speech
The survey also found that a majority of Mormon (81 percent), white Protestant Evangelical (71 percent), white Protestant main representative (64 percent) and Catholic (62 percent) students felt that protecting freedom of expression is more important than inclusiveness .
For comparison, a majority of Jewish students (65 percent) and non-religious students (54) said that inclusiveness is more important than freedom of expression.
In addition, only 39 percent of students knew that freedom of expression is protected by the constitution, according to a separate 2017 survey of 1,500 students from the Brookings Institution and UCLA.
About 44 percent said freedom of expression was not protected and another 16 percent said they did not know.
& # 39; There is no doubt that these young people are well-intentioned and do exactly what their parents have appointed them for & # 39 ;, said Paulson. & # 39; You must not insult people of other races and beliefs that you do not shy away from hurting other people's feelings. But the Constitution is about being able to live fully and that also means that you can say whatever you want. & # 39;
& # 39; I am absolutely convinced that non-respect and respect for the First Amendment freedoms stems from a lack of understanding, & # 39; he added. & # 39; And all our educators must make a commitment to reverse this. & # 39;
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