Three-quarters of Princeton students say it’s acceptable to shout down speakers they disagree with
Three-quarters of Princeton students say it’s acceptable to yell down campus speakers they disagree with – while 16% say it’s acceptable to use FORCE to stop a speech
- A Princeton alumni group for freedom of speech surveyed 250 current students
- 76 percent of students thought it was acceptable to yell at a speaker
- 16 percent supported using force to stop a conversation
More than three-quarters of Princeton students said it was sometimes acceptable to stop a campus speaker by yelling over them, a recent survey found.
And about 43 percent said it was acceptable to deny other students access to lectures they disagreed with, while 16 percent supported the use of force to stop a controversial speaker.
In response to a separate question, 48 percent of students said a speech that uses discriminatory language or that a group finds offensive should not be allowed.
The survey of 250 students was conducted by alumni group Princetonians for Free Speech has described it was the first comprehensive study of student freedom of expression by a university alumni group.
The debate over free speech in academic institutions has been heated in recent years — in March, Stanford Law School made headlines after students berated a Trump-appointed federal appeals judge who had come to give a lecture.
A recent survey by Princetonians for Free Speech gave students the opportunity to say whether they always, sometimes, or rarely found it acceptable to take various actions on campus. This table groups all the students who think it would ever be acceptable to include those actions in a single group
In the 2022 College Free Speech Rankings by FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Princeton (pictured) was the nation’s lowest-ranked school
The school’s Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion then ostensibly stepped in to bring calm, but in fact began an impassioned six-minute speech, which she had penned, condemning his life’s work.
KEY FINDINGS OF PRINCETON FREE SPEECH RESEARCH
- 40% of students think a sports team should be able to suspend a student with views that others find offensive
- 16% supported the use of force to silence a controversial speaker
- 43% said it was acceptable to block other students from attending lectures they disagreed with
- 76% said it was sometimes acceptable to stop a campus speaker by yelling over them
Princetonians for Free Speech was founded in 2020 by Princeton alumnus, journalist and lawyer Stuart Taylor Jr.
In the 2022 College Free Speech Rankings by FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Princeton was the lowest ranked school in the country.
Another noteworthy result from the recent Princeton survey was that 40 percent of students said a sports team should be able to suspend a student for views that others find offensive.
The students surveyed also suggested that in many situations they would be reluctant to speak up about controversial topics.
About 70 percent of students said they would be very or somewhat uncomfortable to publicly disagree with a professor in class on a controversial topic.
And 56 percent said they would be very or somewhat uncomfortable expressing their views on a controversial subject in class.
“Our research shows that more needs to be done because most students do not support or understand freedom of speech,” said Edward Yingling, a co-founder of Princetonians for Free Speech, in an email to The College Fix.
In a op-ed for RealClearPoliticsYingling expressed appreciation for the steps the university has recently taken to encourage free speech, most notably a September orientation speech by Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber.
He did say, however, that “there is a huge gulf between rhetoric and reality” and that “most Princeton students don’t support or understand the basic principles of free speech.”
Princetonians for Free Speech was founded by Princeton alumnus, journalist and lawyer Stuart Taylor Jr. (photo)
In March, Stanford Law School made headlines after students (pictured) berated a Trump-appointed federal appeals judge who had come to give a lecture
In September, a Princeton student journalist published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal saying that the school issued an injunction barring her from reporting on a group involving another student after that student filed a complaint.
According to her Journal article, her only contact with the student who filed the complaint had been a cordial interview for a conservative student publication, The Princeton Tory.
“Although she disagreed on some contextual points, she remained cordial throughout our conversation and never indicated she felt threatened or wanted to end our conversation,” they wrote.
Last May, a Princeton classics professor claimed he was fired for resisting “obviously racist and illegal” demands from fellow faculty members following the death of George Floyd.
He claimed he was fired for “publicly criticizing a number of ‘anti-racist’ demands, some of which were clearly racist and illegal” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Princeton said he was fired after “not being honest” in a 2018 misconduct investigation about his relationship with a student.