Wonder Why College Students Can’t Handle Free Speech? New Study Explains the Hostility

It’s not just the protests.

From “triggering,” to “safe zones,” to university-provided counseling, college students across America are growing increasingly intolerant of free speech — more precisely, any speech with which one disagrees.

And nowhere is the intolerance more prevalent than at the University of California, Berkeley, of all places, the “cradle of free speech” during the turbulent 1960s.

The question is why?

While intolerance of opposing political opinion has grown more strident in the country as a whole, why is it seemingly worse among college students, to the point of requiring counseling after being “triggered” by speech?

As reported by The Washington Post, a new study may provide at least some of the answers.

From the belief that speech with which one disagrees is “violence,” to the similar belief that “hate speech” is not constitutionally protected, to the justification of physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive and hurtful statements,” the attack on free speech is only spreading.

The study by Brookings Institution senior fellow John Villasenor found that while Democrats and Republicans are generally in agreement over whether or not “hate speech” is protected by the First Amendment, women are more likely than men to believe it’s not:

Screenshot/The Washington Post

Democrats, however, are much more likely than Republicans to agree that shouting over the top of speakers with whom they disagree is acceptable behavior:

Screenshot/The Washington Post

While respondents across the board believe the use of violence to disrupt a political speech is acceptable, 30 percent of males said they believe it is:

Screenshot/The Washington Post

The study also found that 53 percent of college students believe universities “are supposed to foster a positive learning environment” by “prohibiting certain offensive speech.” Operative word being “certain,” as in the eye of the beholder.

Additionally, 62 percent believe the First Amendment requires universities to bring in speakers with viewpoints opposite of “controversial speakers” to provide balance.

Again, one wonders if that applies to bringing in Ann Coulter or Ben Shapiro, say, to counterbalance not only liberal speakers, but left-wing college professors, from whom millions of America’s college students hear on a regular basis.

Chances are, not.

What do you think?

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