Study: Woke Campus Bureaucracies Threaten Free Speech

The prevalence of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs on university campuses leads to a suppression of free speech, according to a new study.

A political science professor published the study on Substack. The findings were based on last year’s free speech survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and a 2021 Heritage Foundation study.

The latter research explored DEI bureaucracies at 65 schools. The total of institutions covered by the study represents 16% of all students at U.S. four-year colleges and universities.

Results showed that the programs led to a higher acceptance for leftist campus speakers but no change in tolerance for conservatives.

However, parallel to the prevalence of DEI bureaucracies is the phenomenon of outbreaks of protests and actual disruptions of speakers achieved through violence, blockades, and using loud student voices to drown out dissenting speech.

Expression outside of classrooms is affected by the size of DEI programs. Those institutions with more DEI employees saw a higher level of discomfort with speech outside of the classroom setting, though no change within the walls.

The study revealed that discussions of controversial subject matters such as identity-related issues and others are more difficult as the size of the DEI program increases.

The sad truth is that, despite the lofty sounding objections, these bureaucracies lead to the stifling of conservative political perspectives. It became clear early on that these initiatives, rather than providing a beacon for free speech, would only serve to stifle dissent.

Lawrence Krauss opined in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that DEI resulted in “a climate of pervasive fear on campus” that was squelching critical discussions.

He added “the DEI monomania has contributed to the crisis of free speech on campus.”

Colin Wright went further, declaring that “DEI departments, statements, and initiatives must be abolished at every school and university that receives public funding.” He called them “costly cancers” that inhibit real viewpoint diversity.

It is glaringly apparent that universities have zero interest in true diversity of thought. Rather, through pervasive DEI programs, every decision is made using groupthink and with the intent of promoting one point of view while suppressing any and all dissension.