Posted on May 15, 2019

74 Percent of College Men Think Too Many People Are Easily Offended, Poll Finds

Jenni Fink, Newsweek, May 14, 2019

A recent survey has found college students were split along lines of gender and race on issues surrounding free speech rights and potentially offensive language.

The survey, released Monday, was commissioned by the Knight Foundation and carried out by College Pulse. It polled more than 4,000 students enrolled in full-time four-year degree programs. {snip}

Language deemed offensive by students has prompted calls for the resignation of professors, the cancellation of commencement speeches and even violent protests on campuses nationwide.


The majority of students surveyed responded that people didn’t need to be more sensitive with their word choice. Six in 10 said people were too easily offended by the language other people used.

While the overall opinion fell on the side of people being too easily offended, when broken down by gender and race, significant divisions came to light.

Seventy-four percent of college men responded that people were too easily offended, and only 25 percent said people should be careful with their words. The divide in opinion with non-binary students was almost identical, except 74 percent responded that people need to be more careful with their language. Twenty-four percent of non-binary students responded people were too easily offended.

College women were almost evenly split on the subject, with 51 percent saying people were too easily offended and 48 percent agreeing that people should be more careful with their language.

The survey’s results were also broken down by race. When respondents were asked if people should be more careful to avoid offending those with different backgrounds, the survey found:

  • Black college students: 57 percent agreed
  • Hispanic college students: 38 percent agreed
  • Asian and Pacific Islander students: 38 percent agreed
  • White students: 35 percent agreed

The majority of religious and nonreligious students disagreed that people need to be more careful about their language, except Jewish students, which responded with a majority of 57 percent that people needed to be more careful.


The belief that campus climate prevented students from voicing their opinions included almost three-fourths of male college students and two-thirds of female college students. Only 43 percent of non-binary students agreed.

Overall the survey concluded that the majority of students supported protecting speech and generally agreed that hate speech should be protected by the First Amendment. {snip}