Commentary: Young Scholars Are Not the Enemies of Free Speech on Campus

February 11, 2024 1 min read

Pippa Norris
Harvard Crimson

Excerpt: The animus for much of the recent debate roiling Harvard is the claim that the liberal tilt of the academy has accelerated in recent years. This process is believed to have excluded heterodox voices and thereby restricted academic freedom of expression on college campuses.

Is there solid evidence that viewpoint diversity has indeed worsened over time in academia, as widely assumed? A 2023 survey I helped conduct with The World of Political Science monitored the economic and social ideological values of political scientists, as well as their attitudes towards academic freedom of expression and perceptions of cancel culture. Focusing upon a subset of respondents living and working in western universities and colleges, cohort analysis by decade of birth is a technique which can provide proxy insights into trends over time.

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