Apr 04, 2016
Knight Foundation, Newseum Institute sponsor survey on free expression on campus
MIAMI—April 4, 2016—U.S. college students are highly confident that First Amendment rights are secure, yet close to half say some campus speech restrictions can be justified, a Gallup survey has found.
The survey, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Newseum Institute, also found 59 percent of students have little or no trust in the media to report the news fairly and accurately. Nonetheless, 70 percent say students should not be able to prevent the press from covering student protests on campus.
This study sought to better understand how U.S. college students interpret their First Amendment rights, and their views of how to balance those rights against other considerations. The Newseum Institute hosted a student conference Saturday on “Free Speech on Campus,” the first in a three-part, Knight-funded program, that will result in a “Guide to Free Speech on Campus” to be published later this year.
Among the key findings:
Students far more positive than U.S. adults about security of First Amendment rights, but black students less confident about the right to assemble
Students support free speech and press rights in principle, but a significant minority are willing to entertain restrictions
College students do not trust the press; views mixed on social media
The findings of this study suggest that, while the core principles of the First Amendment are well-rooted in society, what those rights mean is up for debate in an era of changing media habits, new forms of technology-mediated conversation, and important national debates on race and diversity.
This study includes a sample of U.S. college students, a sample of U.S. adults and a sample of U.S. Muslims. The full questionnaire, topline results, detailed cross-tabulations, data files, and full report with methodology may be found at http://kng.ht/campus.
The Freedom Forum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs. The Freedom Forum Institute’s affiliate organizations include the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The Freedom Forum Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its principal funder, the Freedom Forum.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.
For more information, visit knightfoundation.org.
Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.
Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation