- A statewide college campus survey found an alarming number of students and employees were “intimidated” to share their views on campus
- About 35 percent of student respondents don’t feel comfortable speaking up about any controversial topic
- One-third of college employees say their institutions don’t provide an equally tolerant environment
- One-quarter of all students responding to the survey say their professors push their personal ideologies without allowing objective discussion of opposing views
- By contrast, just four percent of professors admit sharing any personal political views at all
The results of a survey of students and employees across Florida’s college and university campuses are in, and they’re not pretty. More than 28 percent of Florida college students who responded to the survey say they felt intimidated to share their ideas or political opinions because they are different from their professors, and roughly the same number say their professors use class time to discuss their own social or political beliefs without objectively discussing opposing beliefs. Professors, however, largely deny pushing their personal political views in the classroom.
But the students aren’t alone in their views. College and university employees who responded to the survey, of which about 70 percent work outside the classroom, revealed the problem is even worse than students say, with more than 40 percent of those reporting they feel intimidated to share their views on campus, and more than a third said their schools don’t provide an environment that is equally tolerant and welcoming of both conservative and liberal beliefs.
The survey received 8,835 responses from college students across the state, while 9,238 college and university employees responded. Of those, 2,820 (30 percent) were classroom instructors or professors. The surveys were sent to more than 368,000 students and 98,000 campus employees. The left-leaning United Faculty of Florida, a union for college instructors and faculty members, encouraged students and professors to ignore the survey, and the group has led the charge in criticizing the results because of the low response rate.
Still, the preliminary findings include an alarming number of respondents – one quarter of all students returning the survey – saying they do not see regular examples of free and welcomed expression in class, while one out of every five students say they don’t feel free to express their ideas, opinions or beliefs anywhere on campus. On controversial subjects, 35 percent say they don’t feel comfortable speaking up or sharing their personal views.
Ideological indoctrination from professors is also a significant concern. One in four student respondents say their professor uses class time to discuss their own social or political beliefs without objectively discussing opposing beliefs. Notably, 79 percent of college instructors and professors responding to the survey claim they never inject their personal political views into class discussions, while just 4 percent acknowledge doing so. The remaining 17 percent declined to provide a meaningful response to the question.
Seventy-five percent of students in the survey say that the views expressed by instructors and professors are liberal, while just 9 percent say the predominant views are conservative and about 12 percent say the predominant view is something else. Responses from employees largely corroborated the students’ views, with 67 percent describing the predominant ideology on campus as “liberal.” About 21 percent of college employees self-identify as conservative.
The survey found that 40 percent of all students responding believe that their campus is more tolerant of liberal ideas, while another forty percent see their campus as “equally tolerant.” Just eight percent report that their school is more tolerant of conservative ideas.
Review the full report here: