Susquehanna University Political Review


Martin Hooper


This study is an attempt to understand why people, specifically college students, do or do not tolerate different forms of speech and expression. Political tolerance is the classic dependent variable used to measure opinion on civil liberties. Existing literature on political tolerance suggests that it is affected by political leanings, education, perception of opposing ideologies, and gender, among other things. Prior research is lacking that targets college students and that differentiates opinions of free speech relating to public life from opinions relating to life on a private campus. A survey of 522 Susquehanna University students delivered results that were used to analyze the relationship between an array of independent variables and several dependent variables relating to opinions on the regulation of speech. The results indicate that a student’s political affiliation, interest in politics, political sophistication, perception of racism, status as a victim of derogatory speech, year in school, and gender all have a significant effect on opinions relating to the regulation of speech both in public life and on a private campus.