A startling new poll conducted by North Dakota State University sheds light on an alarming trend among today’s college students: an astonishing lack of intellectual tolerance. The survey, encompassing 2,250 undergraduates from 131 colleges nationwide, paints a troubling picture of the prevailing attitudes prevalent in academic circles.
An overwhelming 74 percent of students believe that if a professor expresses something they deem offensive, the individual should be reported to university authorities. Surprisingly, this intolerant sentiment is not confined to any particular political leaning, as 81 percent of liberal-leaning students and 53 percent of conservative-leaning students agreed with the idea.
To delve deeper into the specifics, the survey presented students with various statements and inquired whether they considered them offensive enough to warrant reporting. The results are concerning, as seemingly mainstream opinions were deemed reportable offenses by a significant percentage of students.
For instance, 51 percent of liberal-leaning students felt that a professor should be reported for stating that “there is no evidence of anti-Black bias in police shootings” based on available data. Similarly, 45 percent deemed it reportable if a professor argued that COVID-19 vaccine mandates encroach upon personal freedoms. Furthermore, 37 percent believed reporting a professor would be appropriate for advocating that Affirmative Action might have counterproductive effects. Strikingly, few students felt that expressing a range of liberal opinions would justify reporting a professor.
Even more alarming is the notion that presenting factual information can be considered offensive. A concerning 36 percent of liberal students believed that stating “Biological sex is a scientific fact. There are two sexes, male and female” should be grounds for reporting a professor, despite the statement being objectively true.
The implications of this intolerant mindset are deeply concerning, as it could stifle open debate and discourse on college campuses. The fear of being reported for saying something “offensive” may discourage professors and students alike from expressing any viewpoint deemed remotely controversial. However, true intellectual growth can only occur when diverse perspectives and opinions are explored and debated.
Furthermore, this coddling approach fails to prepare students for the realities of the world beyond academia. It is crucial for students to encounter diverse opinions and ideas, as they will inevitably encounter them in their future workplaces and communities. Shielding students from mainstream center-right opinions sets them up for a rude awakening upon graduation.
In essence, this atmosphere of intellectual intolerance not only stifles growth and learning but also presents a rather dull and monotonous college experience. True education lies in the pursuit of knowledge, even when that knowledge challenges preconceived notions or beliefs.
As a society, it is vital that we foster a culture of intellectual openness and tolerance, where differing perspectives are welcomed, debated, and respected. Let us use this survey as a wake-up call to promote a more inclusive and intellectually vibrant environment in our institutions of higher learning. Encouraging free and open exchange of ideas is the cornerstone of a truly enlightened society.