A Pew poll released Monday shows that Republicans’ views of higher education institutions have taken a dramatic turn for the worse since 2015.
In September 2015, 54 percent of Republicans told Pew that they had a positive stance on college and universities, while 37 percent felt negatively toward them.
Today, their attitude seems to have taken a complete U-turn, with 58 percent of Republicans saying that colleges and universities had a “negative effect on the way things are going in the country.” Only 36 percent maintained that they’re good for the country.
Meanwhile, 72 percent of Democrats and independents who lean Democrat have a positive attitude toward the institutions. According to Pew, this stance hasn’t changed much in recent years.
This striking switch among Republicans echoes a trend among conservatives of blasting “PC culture” and “censorship of free speech” on college campuses and taking legislative action against it.
Berkeley Hates Free Speech pic.twitter.com/i3RlK0eKbZ
— Berkeley Republicans (@BerkeleyCRs) April 20, 2017
Universities should be a place where you go to get your ideas challenged, to discover hard difficult ideas & to discover what you believe. pic.twitter.com/TgKqEkskJf
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 20, 2017
— Jamie Lovegrove (@jslovegrove) June 20, 2017
On June 20, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) held a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on free speech on college campuses titled “Free Speech 101: The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses.”
According to the Washington Post, Grassley charged that free speech “appears to be sacrificed at the altar of political correctness.”
Also present was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who lamented, “It’s tragic what is happening at so many American universities where college administrators and faculties have become complicit in functioning essentially as speech police.”
Two days after the hearing, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a GOP-backed bill allowing college administrators to expel students for “disrupting” college speakers, according to NBC.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) applauded the move:
Thanks to the Assembly for their commitment to free speech on UW campuses.
— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) June 22, 2017