Right-wing Idaho students say they’re more likely to feel pressured on politics | Idaho

Students who describe themselves as right-wing say they are more likely to feel pressured to accept political views they find objectionable.

And while graduate students say they’re more likely to feel pressure from professors or instructors, undergraduates say they’re more likely to feel peer pressure.

These are two findings from a statewide survey of college and university students in Idaho, completed in late November. Meeting at Boise State University on Thursday, the State Board of Education delved into the data.

This was the council’s second look at the data; council members gave it a preliminary reading in December.

For the most part, students who responded to the survey had a positive reading of campus culture. An overwhelming majority of students reported feeling valued, respected and feeling a sense of belonging. And 67% of students said they rarely or never felt pressured to accept opinions they found objectionable.

A closer look at the data revealed some differences, and not just politically.

For example, younger students, under the age of 30, were more likely to say they felt constrained by their opinions. However, freshmen said they were less likely to feel pressured.

The survey found no clear trend by gender. In two-year schools, boys said they felt more pressured about their opinions. In four-year schools, this result was reversed.

And more than half of survey respondents said they didn’t know what to do or how to report their concerns — a potential action for the State Board and colleges, board chief education officer TJ Bliss said Thursday. .

It’s a “problem” and an area that needs improvement, State Council Chairman Kurt Liebich said Thursday. But he and other board members were reluctant to jump to conclusions, based on the investigation.

“It’s an imperfect snapshot of the culture and climate of our campuses,” Liebich said.

Board member Bill Gilbert said he was uncomfortable making quick recommendations to college and university administrators.

“They are the ones responsible for the culture on their campus,” he said.

Board member Linda Clark suggested a wait-and-see approach. If schools don’t respond over time, she said, the board may have to step in.

Nearly 9,000 students responded to the survey, and Bliss cautioned against jumping to conclusions. Because response rates vary widely, it is not possible to use the survey to use it to draw comparisons between colleges and universities.

The survey results and a data dashboard are available on the State Board’s website.

In another council action on Thursday:

Academic freedom. With little discussion, the State Board passed a rewrite of its academic freedom policy.

“Students have the right to engage in free inquiry, intellectual debate, and freedom of scholarship both on and off campus,” the policy reads in part. “Students shall not be subject to retaliation or censorship in response to their beliefs, opinions, research, publications, creative activities, and participation in institutional governance.”

The policy extends similar protections to professors: “In addition to the constitutionally protected freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion, professors have the right to engage in free inquiry, intellectual debate, and freedom of scholarship both on and off campus. Professors shall not be subject to retaliation or censorship in response to their research, publications, creative activities, pedagogy, participation in institutional governance, and all other official aspects of their job description.

Optional student fees. The board has approved a policy allowing students to opt out of fees for student activities, clubs, and organizations.

The move comes a year after Rep. Julie Yamamoto, R-Caldwell, proposed a fee waiver bill. The proposal was not accepted.

Students who refuse the fee will receive a refund this fall.

Kindergarten all day. The Council of State backed away from supporting a bill that would fully fund all-day kindergarten.

The reason is political. Senate Bill 1315 would change the state’s school funding formula, providing more than $40 million directly for full-day kindergarten. Gov. Brad Little has proposed a different approach — pumping an additional $46 million into the state’s literacy budget and giving schools the option to use the money for all-day kindergarten.

The State Council, made up largely of governor-appointed members, took no position on SB 1315. But council members noted that they spoke in favor of kindergarten all day in August.

“We are registered,” said board member David Hill. “Let’s not set foot in it. »

College entrance examination requirement. High school students this year will not be required to take a college entrance exam.

The State Council waived the graduation requirement for the class of 2022.

The requirement has been waived since spring 2020 and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The council’s action is preventive. The Legislative Assembly is considering a rule that would permanently override this graduation requirement, but it has not yet been approved. State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra urged her fellow board members to take action on Thursday to ensure high schools have clear direction as they approach the final months of the school year.

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