Understanding Campus Expression Across Higher Ed

Heterodox Academy’s Annual Campus Expression Survey

March 21, 2023

Heterodox Academy (HxA) is on a mission to improve education and research in universities by increasing open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement. Ideas are the currency of the academy, and advocates for change need the best ideas and evidence available in order to be effective.

HxA has been conducting its annual Campus Expression Survey (CES) to provide benchmarking data and insights on student viewpoint expression and to identify variables associated with expression on campus. Over the past four years we have demonstrated the urgency of the problem with, on average, nearly two-thirds of students reporting that they censor their views in the classroom on culturally controversial topics.

The 2022 HxA CES surveyed 1,564 full-time college students (ages 18 to 24) across the United States in November 2022. The sample was stratified by region, race, and gender. Our fourth year of data collection has yielded continued insights into the problem of campus expression by students. It also offers small signs of hope that viewpoint diversity and open inquiry may be improving from the student perspective.

Takeaway 1: Students’ Reluctance to Discuss Controversial Topics Remains High But Shows Signs of Improvement

Takeaway 2: Students’ Reluctance Is Associated Primarily with Fear of Negative Social Consequences from Peers

Takeaway 3: High Peer Interaction Is Associated with Greater Expression Among Students

Takeaway 4: Campus Culture Needs Continued Improvement to Foster Viewpoint Diversity

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