Commentary: Jewish college students are more likely to oppose free speech — and that should scare us

Samuel Abrams
American Enterprise Institute

Excerpt: One of the hallmarks of Jewish tradition is its intense focus on debate and disagreement. Unfortunately, it appears that this value is being lost on many of the nation’s younger Jews — namely those currently enrolled in colleges and universities.

A just-released survey from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education captures the voices of over 37,000 students at 159 colleges and provides empirical insight into the current state of speech and expression on campus today. The picture is not good. The data show that one-third of all students think trying to disrupt and shout down speakers when they visit campuses is sometimes or always acceptable. Among Jewish students surveyed, 40% reported feeling this way. Two-thirds of Jewish students — compared to just about half of students nationally — answered that blocking other students from attending a campus speech is justifiable.