J. Peder Zane writing at RealClearPolitics.com, Sept. 29:
When it comes to protecting free speech, America’s colleges and universities are earning a failing grade. That’s the upshot of a comprehensive new study that asked almost 20,000 students at 55 schools how tolerant and open to controversial ideas their campuses are. . . .
The College Free Speech Rankings generated by the survey—which was commissioned by RealClearEducation (RCE) in partnership with The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)—are significant because they offer the first-ever national ranking of free speech based on student perceptions. . . .
The most telling and ominous finding is that students may be more directly responsible than administrators and professors for quelling speech. Every school surveyed earned a higher overall score for administrative support for free speech than its final, overall tally. The top-rated University of Chicago, for example, received a score of 91.6 in that category, but a 64.2 overall score.
By contrast, every school received a lower score on questions measuring the freedom students felt to express their point of view than their overall total. The University of Chicago earned a 55.8 on this measure. This suggests that students may be more concerned about blowback from their peers than from their instructors.