Free speech on US university campuses: differentiating perspectives using Q methodology

  • Susan Ramlo
  • Studies in Higher Education, December 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2018.1555700

Examining divergent perspectives of university stakeholders about speech on campus

What is it about?

Although it might be easy to assume that university faculty and staff hold a singular view of speech on campus , this study uses a unique methodology, Q methodology, to differentiate and describe these views. Even on the same university campus with tyrannical administrative oversight, different views exist including speech-crisis and idealistic views.

Why is it important?

This study informs university administrators as well as faculty unions regarding the various viewpoints about speech on university campuses.


Susan Ramlo
University of Akron

I found the results of this study fascinating mostly because of the different viewpoints at "Institution-A." It seems that many faculty hold an idealistic view of speech on campus (one not always rooted in the reality of a current situation such as one where speech is suppressed). Perhaps they are simply hopeful or maybe they are experiencing denial. Speech-crisis view holders see dangerous situation on their campus, Institution-A. Younger stakeholders, especially graduate students, are focused on social justice in regard to speech but this view may have some naive characteristics. Finally, Fox News presents a rather frightening view from my perspective.

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The following have contributed to this page: Susan Ramlo