MINOT, N.D. — North Dakota State University's Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth conducts an annual survey of college students which, among other things, "assesses student perceptions about viewpoint diversity and campus freedom."
If you care about things like viewpoint diversity and campus freedom, the most recent survey's findings are pretty grim.
The survey is not just NDSU students. It was conducted in April of this year and included a representative sample of 1,000 undergraduates pulled from a poll of 400,000 verified students representing over 100,000 institutions in all 50 states.
You can read the full survey report below.
Among the findings is 76% of liberal/liberal-leaning students saying fellow students who say offensive things should be reported. Just 31% of conservative/conservative-leaning students agreed, as did 57% of independent/apolitical students.
A majority of liberal/liberal-leaning students said the classes and activities they're participated in have left them with a more negative view of the United States, with 32% of conservative/conservative-leaning students and 37% of independent/apolitical students saying the same thing.
Asked if they're proud to be Americans, a strong majority of liberal/liberal-leaning students said "no," with nearly a third of independent/apolitical students agreeing.
Majorities of conservative/conservative-leaning students and independent/apolitical students said "yes."
Asked if they have a more positive or negative view of capitalism, a strong majority of liberal/liberal-leaning students and a slim plurality of independent/apolitical students said "negative."
Even nearly a third of conservative/conservative-leaning students said "negative."
Perhaps most damning of the state of thought diversity on campus were the answers to this question about whether students feel comfortable speaking up about controversial or sensitive topics in class.
Liberal/liberal-leaning students mostly said "yes." Conservative/conservative-leaning students mostly said "no," while independent/apolitical students were split.
That adds up to a lot of American college students feeling like they can't speak about controversial topics on college campuses which are supposed to be epicenters of spirited and free-flowing debate about all sorts of topics, including those that make us feel uncomfortable.
What this survey shows us is that our institutions of higher education are failing us. Not in promoting what you or I might find to be the proper view of America, as a country, or capitalism, as an economic concept, but in fostering well-rounded education and research that is reflective of the sort of social and political diversity that exists in wider American society.
Not that we needed the findings of this survey to tell us that this is happening. It's been apparent, for years now, and what's troubling is how many in our society, particularly on the political left, since they're the ones benefitting from this lopsided approach, are just fine with it.
We shouldn't be ok with indoctrination.
We shouldn't be satisfied when American students feel like they can't speak openly about sensitive topics on a college campus.
We have to do better than this.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.