According to the findings, the current crop of freshmen can lay claim to multiple superlatives. Among them: most willing to shut down speech they find offensive.Yes, dear reader, this is a survey of matriculants at 200 institutions of
About 71 percent of freshmen surveyed in the fall said they agreed with the statement that “colleges should prohibit racist/sexist speech on campus.” This question has been asked on and off for a couple of decades, and 2015 logged the highest percentage of positive responses on record. For comparison, the share in the early 1990s hovered around 60 percent; also high, but not as high as today.
The highest share of students since 1973 now consider themselves left of center. And the highest share of college freshmen ever (or at least since this question was first asked in 1970) call themselves “far left.”Their brain-brothers, apparently, would rather intimidate Ms Rampell than debate her.
I’m hardly an arch-conservative, and whenever I write things that college students disagree with, I get a lot of email demanding retraction, recantation, apology, prostration. Some younger readers — not all that much younger than I, mind you — have accused my writing of “taking away” both their voices and their agency, as if free speech were zero-sum.These students, however, have lost the good of the intellect before they receive the fat envelope from the conditioning station of choice.
Remember that these survey questions were asked of newly matriculated college freshmen. That is, students are setting foot on campus already more liberal, more protest-happy and more amenable to speech restrictions than their predecessors.Perhaps it's a different grade of Distressed Material from the matriculant who can't read or figure at the sixth grade level, but Distressed Material it still is.
Which suggests that colleges themselves are not wholly responsible for rising liberal and illiberal tendencies on campus — even if they do sometimes aid and abet both trends.