Poll: College Students Seek Talk of Morality, Patriotism

Article excerpt

U.S. college students say more talk about morality is needed on campuses, as well as discussion about basic American freedoms, a new Zogby poll has found.

Nearly a third of the nation's college students declined to say they are proud to be Americans.

These are the latest findings of a new poll released this month by Zogby International, which paints a gloomy portrait of student attitudes toward patriotism, just as Americans are gearing up to celebrate Independence Day on July 4.

The random survey of 1,005 college students was taken in January on behalf of the Foundation for Academic Standards and Tradition (FAST), a nonprofit student advocacy group with headquarters in New York City.

It found that an overwhelming majority of college students want more talk about morality on campuses, as well as more discussion about basic American freedoms.

"There seems to be a growing movement toward what one would call more traditional principles," FAST President Marc Berley said.

"That's what students want and that's not what they are getting."

Stanley K. Ridgley, executive director of the Collegiate Network at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Wilmington, Del., said colleges would be wise to listen to students.

Colleges, he said, don't do enough to teach the basis of a free society, but never fail to teach what is wrong, creating dissatisfaction where none exists, and "focusing on the warts to the exclusion of the healthy body politic."

"This denigration of the idea of American exceptionalism goes hand in hand with the poor job that colleges are doing teaching young people about what it means to be an American," he said.

"We live in the freest society that has ever existed, but apparently American intellectuals have a problem with that. For them, American history is a grim chronicle of oppression, and the idea that this is a free society that has provided more opportunity and wealth for more people doesn't jibe with their own ideas of America being an oppressive society."

The Zogby poll of students looked at other issues such as racism, job preparation, studying versus partying, and morality. …