These are 25 quotes from hundreds of open-ended responses edited for brevity, spelling and grammar. The responses in this survey reflect the opinions of students and do not represent the views of the universities.
Compiled by Katelyn Becker
Do you feel free to express yourself on your campus? Why or why not?
- No, because I’m worried if I voice my opinion I could be sanctioned by the university. Simply for being conservative and voicing your opinion you can be sanctioned by the school.
- Yes and no. I feel like I can express myself but I might have someone from the liberal side say something to me because what I said or wore “offended” them. Sometimes I’m cautious as to what I say/wear because I don’t want to deal with some liberal college student bashing me.
- No, I feel that if I voice opinions that may be controversial, my peers may tear me down instead of educating me about why I may be offending someone.
- Yes, for the most part, although Yik Yak feels less safe and I’m sometimes afraid of being considered “too liberal” or a “special snowflake.” I’ve been told that [it’s] “no wonder [I’m] so stupid” because I’ve admitted being a lesbian on YY, which made me feel uncomfortable and hyper-aware of people acting tolerant but privately being intolerant.
- Yes. I’m not stupid enough to say blatantly politically correct things and I always frame my more controversial opinions in an unbigoted way. This is just diplomacy and social skills.
- No. As a woman who advocates for survivors of sexual assault, I feel that my voice is silenced by the administration when I try to speak out about these issues.
- I somewhat do but Greek orgs get way too much scrutiny and harassment by admin and police.
- Yes, but I think a lot of media topics that people are drunk on (feminism, police brutality, #oscarssowhite, etc.) are undebatable at all. There are many factors to all of these issues that most do not take into consideration.
- Yes, because I think college is a place where everyone is exploring who they are as a person and learning new things about themselves.
- Yes, as long as I don’t go against the grain.
- I did when I was in college between 2007 and 2011, but I’m concerned by some of these trends. I’m not bothered by the basic concept of trigger warnings, particularly as they relate to commonly traumatic experiences such as sexual assault or other violence. However, I worry about an academic climate in which political or religious ideologies like conservatism, libertarianism and evangelical Christianity are deemed inherently hateful or “unsafe.”
- Yes. My campus encourages discussion and debate, and I think carefully before speaking and then listen.
- No. The fact that minority opinions are often denounced heavily and that microaggressions are common makes voicing an opinion that is different from the norm very dangerous, with serious social consequences.
- I do, although that’s probably mostly because I am a white (with Hispanic background), cis, heterosexual male. The only thing I don’t have going for me is that I am not Christian.
- As a transgender student, I feel that the university does not respect my identity or give me adequate protections from potential violence.
- Not necessarily. I feel like expressing more conservative views, especially on social issues, can lead to an overload of negativity. But it’s not just conservative views—even things like views on Israel get polarized instantly. There’s a lack of rational discourse and a middle ground.
- There is no diversity on my campus so many people have the same ideas.
- Yes. We can gather and demonstrate. In our department’s classes we are free to voice our opinions.
- Yes, but I feel that other groups express themselves to the point where I feel my opinions would be ignored or would be cast out since they do not always align with the majority of the student body.
- No, there are too many people that would be offended by what I have to say. I’ve been called a racist for indicating that I believe that police violence against minorities is a problem with individuals within the system and not the system as a whole.
- No, I cannot fly the state flag at a state-funded school.
- Yes. It’s understood (and taught in most classes) that people have different opinions, and part of becoming an adult is coming to terms with the fact that other people have different values and different perceptions of what’s important.
- While expressing oneself is encouraged, many times people are criticized for doing so.
- Generally yes. The main times I don’t are when I feel that I have significantly less knowledge or understanding of the facts of an issue, in which case I prefer to sit back and learn from other people before jumping into debate.