Anna Boch

Department of Sociology

Freedom of Speech on Campus


American colleges and universities struggle to balance the constitutional right of free speech with creating a learning environment that is accessible and welcoming to all. Recently, some commentators, particularly conservatives, claim that free speech is “under attack” on campus, through speaker dis-invitations, safe-spaces, and restricted free speech zones. However, increased education and more liberal ideology is consistently associated with more political tolerance, that is, tolerance of potentially objectionable groups that one might disagree with. Thus, my survey experiment will examine how Americans respond to potentially objectionable speakers from the Left and Right. Additionally, it examines how education, political ideology, a potential security threat, and stakeholder views (students and administrators) all affect support for the civil liberties of such speakers on college campuses.