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HomeBreaking NewsUniversity of Wisconsin System to Delay Free Speech Survey

University of Wisconsin System to Delay Free Speech Survey

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The free speech survey was supposed to ask students about speech on campus, and whether students felt there were any problems.

It looks like University of Wisconsin schools won’t be asking students about free speech after all.

On Wednesday, the professor who organized the free speech survey told the UW System he wants to wait a while.

Timothy Shiell with the Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation at UW-Stout sent an email to the UW’s new president, explaining that he is going to wait until the fall to send the free speech survey to all 13 UW campuses.

“Given current circumstances, I must delay the launch of the ‘Student Perceptions of Campus Free Speech, Viewpoint Diversity, and Self-Censorship’ survey launch until Fall 2022,”  Shiell wrote. “The extra time will enable us to answer fully and accurately the avalanche of questions arising and lay the groundwork for a successful survey.”

The free speech survey was supposed to ask students about speech on campus, and whether students felt there were any problems.

“It is essential that the survey provide the quantity and quality of data that helps inform the public discussion of an issue of state and national significance,”  Shiell added.

UW-Whitewater Chancellor Jim Henderson resigned earlier this week because of the survey.

Henderson said he not only questioned the political motivations of the free speech survey but also questioned the decision of UW leaders to double down on the survey.

“As stated in my resignation letter, it was not an issue of the environment at UW-Whitewater that led to my resignation, but rather one of understanding that the integrity of the agreement about decision-making and the role of the chancellors in that process had been broken,” Henderson said in a statement earlier this week.

The UW System said when it announced the survey earlier this week that the survey would attempt to answer the following questions:

  • What do students know about First Amendment free speech rights?
  • How much do they value these rights?
  • How much do students value viewpoint diversity?
  • Do they perceive problems in viewpoint diversity at their campus?
  • Do students self-censor? If so, why do they self-censor?
  • Have students witnessed or experienced formal sanctions or punishment for constitutionally protected expression?
  • To what extent do student perceptions vary with demographic factors such as their political party affiliation, gender, and race/ethnicity?

There is no word when the free speech survey will be sent to UW’s campuses.

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