How to Handle Free Speech Issues on Campus

Title: The 2020 Inside Higher Ed Survey Of College And University Student Affairs Officers

Date: March 26, 2020

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Authors: Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman

Inside Higher Ed released findings from a recent survey of higher education institutions to better understand the perceptions and practices of university student affairs officers on key issues including student mental health, race relations and diversity on campus, hunger and homelessness on campus, free speech, sexual assault, Greek life, and athletics. The survey captured voices from a total of 506 institutions (248 public and 254 private and four institutions from the for-profit sector).

Key findings of the report include:

  • Student affairs leaders reported that the top three issues they have focused on in past years were students’ mental health (94 percent), well-being (91 percent), and hunger and homelessness (55 percent).
  • More than three-quarters of the respondents’ home institutions said the total number of student visits to mental health professionals has increased significantly. Among institutions, a higher proportion of doctoral institutions reported concern about student mental health (68 percent), compared with master’s/baccalaureate (56 percent) and associate (36 percent) institutions.
  • More than half of student affairs officers (54 percent) stated that race relations on their campus were excellent or good, compared with 77 percent of university presidents.
  • Of institutions who answered the survey, on average 5 percent of students were homeless, and 17 percent were food insecure. These percentages were higher among community colleges.
  • The majority of students and faculty agreed that their campus generally respects free speech.
  • Over 80 percent of institutions reported their campus handles sexual assault allegations appropriately, yet 74 percent still believed that their campus should improve how it responds to the issues.

To read the full report, please click here.

—Haelim Chun

Higher Education Today