New report shows historically black university students’ views of free expression on campus

A new Gallup report co-sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Newseum Institute shows that students attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States are confident that First Amendment rights are secure. However, the same students are more likely than other college students to favor limits on First Amendment press freedoms during campus protests.

This report is a follow-up to a survey released in April of 3,072 college students in the United States on their views of First Amendment rights.

In the Knight Foundation’s press release on Sept. 22, Jeffrey Herbst, president and CEO of the Newseum, said: “Freedom of the press, speech and assembly was traditionally seen as critical to minority groups who wanted to express their grievances. However, this study reveals that African-American students are more likely to favor restrictions on the press when covering campus protests than their white counterparts. African-American students are also more skeptical of the press’ ability to report in an unbiased manner. Students at HBCUs also believe that the right to assembly is threatened. We clearly need to understand how all Americans can enjoy their First Amendment rights so that we can, among other things, make progress on the issues that divide us.”

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