The First Amendment on Campus 2020 Report: College Students’ Views of Free Expression

College students’ views on the First Amendment are a critical harbinger of our democracy. They illustrate how well an emerging generation understands our constitutional rights during an era of changing speech, communication and interaction, and how they put these rights into practice.

For the 2020 First Amendment on Campus report, Gallup conducted online surveys with a nationally representative sample of more than 3,000 U.S. full-time undergraduate college students, including an oversample of students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).1 A smaller number of students in the initial sample completed follow-up, in-depth telephone interviews providing further insights into college students’ experiences and opinions.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Gallup began surveying college students on First Amendment issues in the spring of 2016. Most students at the time of the first survey have finished college; however, the latest survey — conducted in late 2019 in partnership with the Charles Koch Foundation and the Stanton Foundation — finds that among today’s college students, critical trends continue to hold.

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Journalism

Campus Speech 2020: New survey reveals college student views on free speech and inclusivity

May 5, 2020
Campus Speech 2020: New survey reveals college student views on free speech and inclusivity

Reflections from the field

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Journalism

Universities must condemn hate speech without censorship

On May 5, 2020, Gallup and Knight Foundation released a new report on college students and their attitudes about Free Speech. View the full report here. No one likes to admit to being against free speech. Whether on the playground or in the elementary school classroom, the virtues of free speech as a quintessential American value […]

May 5, 2020
Universities must condemn hate speech without censorship
article
Journalism

Colleges must better educate students on the value of free speech

On May 5, 2020, Gallup and Knight Foundation released a new report on college students and their attitudes about Free Speech. View the full report here. Are colleges and universities making progress in protecting students’ exercise of free speech and other First Amendment rights on campus? Despite an increase in concern about the issue in recent […]

May 5, 2020
Colleges must better educate students on the value of free speech
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Journalism

Students are rejecting racist speech, not free speech

On May 5, 2020, Gallup and Knight Foundation released a new report on college students and their attitudes about Free Speech. View the full report here. Polls often have something to reinforce every point of view, and the latest study of campus attitudes on free speech from Knight Foundation and Gallup is no exception. For […]

May 5, 2020
Students are rejecting racist speech, not free speech
article
Journalism

Free speech and the urban-rural divide on America’s college campuses

On May 5, 2020, Gallup and Knight Foundation released a new report on college students and their attitudes about Free Speech. View the full report here. To better understand the attitudes of young people towards the First Amendment, a Gallup-Knight recent report surveyed 3,000 college students about their attitudes about  freedom of expression. As a brown […]

May 5, 2020
Free speech and the urban-rural divide on America’s college campuses
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Journalism

Free speech tensions include fear of what others might hear

On May 5, 2020, Gallup and Knight Foundation released a new report on college students and their attitudes about Free Speech. View the full report here. Knight Foundation’s fascinating report about college students’ views of campus climate is a treasure trove of insights about the near future of free speech. Most of the seeming contradictions (for […]

May 5, 2020
Free speech tensions include fear of what others might hear

Further Reading

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Freedom of Expression

At Knight Foundation, our belief in freedom of expression is one of our core values and a longstanding pillar of our work. But free expression faces new challenges in the digital age. With traditional revenues in decline, news organizations, longstanding champions of First Amendment issues that reverberate beyond media, say they are less able to pursue legal cases. New media platforms are sparking debate about the regulation of speech. And on college campuses and in cities across the United States, protests are sparking questions about the right to assemble and when, if ever, the First Amendment should be restricted. Through research, education and support for initiatives such as the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, we’re helping to defend these basic rights.

February 9, 2020
Freedom of Expression
Article
Journalism

Free speech on campus: New perspectives emerge from Gallup/Knight student survey

Sam Gill is Knight Foundation vice president for communities and learning. In 2016, Knight Foundation, the Newseum Institute and Gallup surveyed more than 3,000 students at colleges and universities around the country (including a special look at students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to understand their evolving views of the First Amendment.  Our interest […]

March 12, 2018
Free speech on campus: New perspectives emerge from Gallup/Knight student survey
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Journalism

High School Student Views On The First Amendment: Trends in the 21st Century

Learn more about the report by reading this blog post from Evette Alexander, Knight Foundation director for learning and impact. You may also read this post by Dr. Emily Chamlee-Wright and this post by Joan Donovan. The Future of the First Amendment survey series with U.S. high school students, commissioned for the first time 15 […]

November 20, 2019
High School Student Views On The First Amendment: Trends in the 21st Century