Survey Examines the Views of HBCU Students on the Issues of Free Speech

A new study by the Knight Foundation, Newseum, and Gallup Inc. examines the views of students at historically Black colleges and universities on the issue of free speech.

Among the findings of the report are:

    • HBCU students are more comfortable than Black students at non-HBCU colleges about policies on their campus aimed at deterring offensive or biased speech.
    • HBCU students are similar to the national sample in saying schools should foster open learning environments that allow a wide range of expression, including offensive speech, rather than foster positive learning environments that prohibit potentially offensive speech or expression.
    • HBCU students are much more likely than the national sample to favor limits on the press’ First Amendment rights to cover campus protests. Fifty-six percent of HBCU students — double the percentage in the national sample — think college students should be able to prevent reporters from covering campus protests.
    • HBCU students are much more likely than the national sample to say a desire to be left alone, a desire to share one’s story on social media, and concerns about unfair reporting are legitimate reasons for student protestors to block news media from covering campus protests.
    • HBCU students express less trust in the news media than the national sample, but HBCU students are more positive about the role of student-run media on their campuses.

The full report, Historically Black College and University Students’ Views of Free Expression on Campus, may be downloaded here.

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