July 19, 2022
The issue of free speech on college campuses burst into the public consciousness half a decade ago, when a number of conservative-leaning speakers’ lectures were disrupted. Such instances, however, have been fewer and further between in the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the threat to free speech has not subsided; it has become further and more formally entrenched. A recent poll found that more than 80 percent of students say they self-censor at least part of the time.1 And in another report, 60 percent of students have at some point felt they couldn’t express an opinion for fear of how students, professors, or college administrators might respond.2 Unfortunately, there’s a structural reason for that: Students’ freely expressed opinions could be picked up by their university’s bias reporting system (BRS) and get them into trouble with college administrators.