Survey Reveals 6 in 10 Students Overall Worry about School Shootings; Striking Gender, Political Differences in Opinions about Safety, Prevention, and Media Hype of Campus Violence
What: Results of the latest student survey conducted by Chegg, The Student Hub, demonstrate the effect and influence recent school shootings and reports of campus violence have on the collective student body. As high profile school shootings and sexual assault reports have become a tragic, yet common, part of the American mainstream, Chegg asked students their feelings on the subject; particularly how safe they feel on campus, how they believe their schools are prepared to prevent violence, and whether or not they believe the news media have exaggerated the issues. The survey explored key themes and found:
Women are markedly more concerned about on-campus violence than men: Women also feel less strongly that their campuses are doing enough to prevent violence, including school shootings and nonlethal violence such as sexual assault:
- Asked how well their school does at preventing sexual assaults on campus 43% of female students believe their school is not doing enough, whereas nearly 7 in 10 (68%) male students believe they are doing enough.
- 41% of female students rank non-lethal assaults, including sexual assault, as a top concern on campus, while only 25% of male students do – that’s almost half. Conversely, 66% of male students rank property crimes as a top concerns, with only 48% of female students saying that.
- 51% of male students believe that the media exaggerates gun violence, compared with only 36% of female students agreeing with the same statement.
With this in mind, 45% of female students feel their school does not do enough to prevent gun violence, while only 36% of males feel likewise.
There are distinct differences along party lines as well:
- Conservative students feel most safe on campus, at 73%, while liberal students are slightly more cautious at 59%.
- Asked if their school does enough to prevent gun violence: 50% of liberal-leaning students say their school does enough, whereas 68% of conservative-leaning students believe that.
- Across the political spectrum, 65% of self-identified conservative students agree that the media exaggerates gun violence, while only 26% of liberals and 46% of moderates agree with the statement.
Students generally feel safe, but all have concerns:
- 56% of all students worry at least a little about school shootings; 9%, or nearly 1 in 10, students worry about school shootings a lot.
- In ranking on-campus safety concerns, together 55% of all students list property crimes as their top concern; 34% rank non-lethal assault (including sexual assault); only 10% of students rank gun violence as their top concern.
- 67% of all students report feeling safe on or near their campus.
Their real fears mean students aren’t overwhelmingly skeptical of media hype: The majority of students don’t believe media exaggerates gun violence in schools, and they also believe that gun violence results more from mental health issues vs. legislative controls. That said, they believe the country will likely enact stricter gun control measures:
- 58% of all students do not agree that the media exaggerates gun violence in schools.
- 69% of all students believe the epidemic in gun violence is more a product of mental health issues than it is a lack of suitable gun control legislation.
- 65% of all students believe the country is moving towards enacting, and ultimately will enact, stricter gun control measures.
- A significant minority (43%) of today’s college students would even be willing to give up their 2nd Amendment rights in order to have a safer society.
Why: Through its interactions with over 13 million high school and college students, Chegg has deep insight into the student landscape. As a student-first company, it’s Chegg’s prerogative to keep a constant pulse on the collective nationwide student mindset – from the brands they like, to the trends they follow, and even the differing views they have on the most recent news. While Chegg’s mission is to deliver tools and services to help this group be successful in their education, it’s paramount to also understand the other elements that make up the full student experience, because that also contributes to their long-term success.
How: Chegg polled its proprietary Cheggheads panel of more than 15,000 High School and College students. 1,765 students took the poll between June 12 and June 15. Data was weighted to national norms and is accurate +/- 2.3% at the 95% confidence level.