UW System reveals student survey regarding free speech

UW President Jay Rothman hosted a discussion panel on how students responded
UW President Jay Rothman hosted a discussion panel on how students responded(University of Wisconsin)
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 3:42 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2023 at 3:43 PM CST
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WSAW) - The UW System is opening up about the results of a survey sent to students last fall which has over 10,000 respondents.

The topic in question was about the First Amendment and free speech, and how students felt about expressing their opinions on campus.

A majority of the students surveyed say they are comfortable with expressing their views but they aren’t likely to consider the opposing view. Nearly half of the respondents say a public speaker shouldn’t be uninvited if their views don’t align with the students.

57% of students respondents say they felt like expressing their views in class but decided not to due to fear of retaliation by the instructor.

UW President Jay Rothman said in a Tweet that a majority of students understand what the First Amendment protects, but noted, “In other cases, students demonstrated that they weren’t very well aware of the parameters of their constitutional rights.”

A discussion panel was hosted by local politicians and professors to discuss the survey results.

“Students understand that threats of physical violence, for example, aren’t protected under the First Amendment, but they do have a harder time based on the survey data of acknowledging that even hateful words are protected,” said Rothman.

For the full report on the survey, click here.