A fifth of university students support censorship of views on campus

(Photo: Unsplash/Jamie Taylor)

New research has uncovered significant levels of support for the censorship of certain views on university campuses.

In a poll of 500 undergraduates aged between 18 and 25, a fifth supported censorship, while less than a third (30%) consistently supported free speech. 

The survey revealed broad support among students for Cambridge University's recent decision to rescind the fellowship of Canadian academic Jordan Peterson, with 41% backing the move. 

The university withdrew the visiting fellowship from the '12 Rules for Life' author over a photograph in which Peterson had his arm around a man wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "I'm a proud Islamophobe".

Similarly, 44% of students agreed that Cardiff University should have prevented feminist Germaine Greer from giving a lecture after she was accused of being transphobic.  She gave the lecture in 2015 despite a petition signed by thousands demanding that it be called off. 

Just 35% of those surveyed said that Cardiff University was right to allow the lecture to go ahead. 

Elsewhere in the survey, nearly half (48%) endorsed safe spaces "for disadvantaged groups who have been subject to systemic oppression", and 67% favoured trigger warnings.

Policy Exchange, a centre-right think tank, said that the figures reflected a "culture of conformity". 

The report said: "The danger is that academic freedom is being significantly violated due, in particular, to forms of political discrimination."