Iowa Board of Regents

Free Speech Survey Results

The Board of Regents will receive a report outlining results of the second free speech survey at its April meeting in Ames. The survey was conducted between January 31 and March 1 of 2024.

The vast majority of students (87%) agreed that they felt comfortable expressing their opinions related to things they were studying in class. Agreement with that statement increased by nearly 10 percentage points from the 2021 survey. Similarly, most students (80.4%) felt comfortable expressing their opinions outside of class while on campus. There was an almost seven percentage point increase in the percentage of students who agreed with this statement from 2021 to 2024.

In addition, 79.1% of students agree that their university does not restrict speech on campus and this percentage has increased by almost a full 13 percentage points since 2021. 

As with student respondents, most employees (76.9%) at the three universities agreed that their university provides an enrollment for the free and open expression of ideas, opinions, and beliefs. The percentage of employees agreeing with this statement increased eight percentage points since the 2021 survey. Additionally, 73.9% of employees agreed with the statement that their university does not restrict speech on campus, even when it makes people feel uncomfortable.

The data is encouraging and illustrates the progress the Board and its institutions have made over the last three years on free speech issues. The Board will continue to strengthen free speech protections and work to provide an environment for the free and open expression of ideas on campus.

View the full results of the latest free speech survey

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