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Title    Stereotypes About College Students and Free Speech Are False
Date    Thursday March 01 2018, @06:26AM
Author    chromas
from the You-can't-tell-me-what-to-say-you-can't-say dept.

aristarchus writes:

Full article found at Current Affairs:

I have been told, over and over and over again, that college kids these days are hypersensitive snowflakes who can't tolerate opposing opinions and don't believe in free speech. They are so devoted to Tolerance and Diversity that they cannot take a joke, they think everything is a microaggression, and they want to slap "trigger warnings" on anything that may offend their political sensibilities. We have, on American college campuses, a new generation of spoiled, coddled, and censorious whiners who favor stifling dissenting opinions over constructively engaging with them. (I'm presenting this line of thinking in its most extreme form, but I don't think it's wrong to say that this is roughly the kind of sentiment one commonly hears about college students.)

But it looks like it may all be fake news.

More importantly, though, we can see here why reaching broad conclusions from sets of anecdotes is inadvisable. There are around 2,600 four-year universities in the United States. Friedersdorf tried to compile all of the most outrageous instances from a single year, and found about 10 of them. Those 10 were probably roughly evenly distributed according to the political affiliation of the students; i.e. there are more shutdown attempts by liberal students than conservative students, but students are also more liberal.

From the conclusion:

It's time then, to stop talking in stereotypes. Students are, for the most part, just like everybody else: they believe in free speech, but they also have an instinct for censorship. The tendencies that critics describe do exist, but their mistake is in taking the tendencies as the rule rather than the exception. Controversial speakers do, for the most part, get to come to speak, and images of millennials as uniquely sensitive and authoritarian are a misleading and unfair slight against a perfectly decent generation.

Original Submission

The whole piece strikes this submitter as worth the read, as it is replete with facts and studies, as well as coming from a point of view of actual experience at universities.


  1. "aristarchus" -
  2. "Current Affairs" -
  3. "Original Submission" -

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printed from Dev.SN, Stereotypes About College Students and Free Speech Are False on 2019-03-24 16:41:26