If you think the headline is provocative, that is because the facts are provoking.
When forced to choose, a small majority of college students say inclusivity is more important than free speech, though they widely believe in the importance of both to democracy.
Diverse and inclusive society Protecting free speech
All 53 46
Men 39 61
Women 64 35
Whites 47 52
Blacks 68 31
At historically black institutions 53 46
Democrats 66 34
Independents 49 50
Republicans 30 60
So the difference between male and female students may reflect different power positions, with those most at risk of proscription more favorably disposed toward free speech. It may also reflect differences between male and female temperaments on average. Psychological studies over many years conclude that women tend to prize agreeableness and consensus, while men tend to seek out conflict and competition. One can easily imagine evolutionary explanations for this group difference, which of course would not be apparent in every individual.
Female students’ willingness to subordinate free speech to political values is disturbing, in a time when habits of mind and behavior developed on campus tend to leach out to the larger society.