Townhall Readers Respond to NAS Survey

John Irving

We have preliminary results in from the survey of campus life that we announced last week through As part of that canvassing, we presented a series of two negative developments in higher education and asked respondents (three-quarters of whom held college degrees) to choose from the pairs, which development concerned them more. The results were telling, even though, at this point, they largely remain to be sifted through.

Student free speech – the silencing of conservative students – was problematic to 89 percent of those who chose, whereas the academic freedom of professors concerned only about 11 percent of the 1738 people who compared one with the other. Freedom of expression in liberal arts classes outpolled such freedoms in the student press by 2 to 1.

Shakespeare's disappearance from the curriculum didn't sit well with 506 answerers, while anti-Bush remarks from professors in class concerned many more – 1214, to be exact. Funding Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender programs was a problem for roughly the same number of respondents as was the absence of programs on the American Founding (841:888).

Bans on ROTC were of concern to far more respondents (1587) than were lapses in campus security, which bothered only 143 people. Hostility toward Christian groups discouraged almost three times as many of those who took our survey than did hostility to Republicans (1212:512).

These results and many others are just in and we must massage the numbers for their meaning. You can expect some cogent analysis of the data we've derived on these web pages in the weeks to come. We are delighted with the large number of Townhall readers who generously took the time to give us their thoughts on matters of grave concern to higher education.



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