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Fewer Students See Freedom of Speech as Secure

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A new report finds that a growing majority of students believe their campus climate stifles free expression. But the share who support disinviting controversial speakers has fallen.

While most college students believe that freedom of speech is a cornerstone of American democracy, a new report released Tuesday shows that a shrinking share sees freedom of speech as secure. A growing majority also believe their college or university stifles free expression.

According to the report from the Knight Foundation, which surveyed 1,000 students between 18 and 24 enrolled in any kind of higher education institution last year, 84 percent said free speech rights are critical to American democracy. Yet only 47 percent said that their freedom of speech rights are secure, a share that has declined steadily since 2016, when 73 percent said they were secure.

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