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(BPRW) Students at historically black colleges and universities more likely to favor limits on press’ right to cover campus protests, express less trust in media, Gallup survey shows

Editors Baltimore Times | 10/6/2016, 12:13 p.m. | Updated on 10/6/2016, 12:13 p.m.
Students who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States are confident that First Amendment rights are ...

— Black PR Wire) MIAMI—Sept. 22, 2016— Students who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States are confident that First Amendment rights are secure, but are more likely than other college students to favor limits on First Amendment press freedoms during campus protests, a Gallup report has found.

The report, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Newseum Institute, is a follow-up to an April survey of 3,072 U.S. college students (including HBCU students)on their views of First Amendment rights. The new report compares findings from the national sample with responses from 302 full-time students at HBCUs, as well as 357 black students at other colleges.

The report shows that while a large majority (75 percent) of HBCU students view freedom of the press as secure, 56 percent– double the percentage of national college students at 28 percent – believe college students should be able to prevent reporters from covering campus protests. Correspondingly, HBCU students express less trust in the media than the national sample.

This study sought to better understand how U.S. college students interpret their First Amendment rights, and the role that their environments and backgrounds play in shaping their views. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) hosted a student panel discussion daily at 11 a.m. ET on “Free Speech on HBCU Campuses” to discuss the findings of the report. You can watch the video at: http://kng.ht/2cGdPyA.

“Amid intense debates around free speech on campus, these findings highlight a deeper story behind student perceptions of the First Amendment. They have the potential to help fuel a more informed debate around these important rights and open new avenues for further study,” said Sam Gill, Knight Foundation vice president for learning and impact.

Among the other key findings:

HBCU students and black students at non-HBCU colleges are generally confident in the security of First Amendment rights, but they are less likely than the national sample to believe these rights are secure

• HBCU students are confident in the security of each of the five First Amendment rights, particularly freedom of the press (75 percent), freedom of religion (62 percent), and freedom of speech (60 percent).

• Race significantly relates to perceptions concerning freedom to assemble. HBCU students (45 percent), as well as black students at non-HBCU colleges (40 percent)are much less likely than the national sample (66 percent) to believe the right of people to assemble peacefully is secure. In fact, more HBCU students describe freedom of assembly as threatened (54 percent) than as secure.

• HBCU students differ from black students at non-HBCU colleges in the degree to which they view freedom to petition the government as secure: 56 percent of HBCU students versus 69 percent of black students at other colleges believe that right is secure.

HBCU students are similar to the national sample in that the majority support free speech and press rights, but HBCU students and black students at non-HBCU colleges are slightly more likely to entertain restrictions