College - Author 1

College of Liberal Arts

Department - Author 1

Communication Studies Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BA in Communication Studies



Primary Advisor

Bethany Conway, College of Liberal Arts, Communication Studies Department


The following study used theories of belongingness and spiral of silence to investigate students’ comfortability when sharing their political views in class. This study employed a survey distributed to a convenience sample of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students. The survey contained multiple choice and free response questions that encompassed political affiliation, willingness to share political views in class, and demographics. The results of the survey were interpreted using SPSS statistics software, specifically ANOVA tests and Fisher’s LSD. The findings of this study ultimately indicated that liberal students feel more comfortable sharing their views than moderates and conservatives. Findings also showed that liberals felt the highest sense of belonging and the least amount of social stigma when sharing their views in class. This ultimately illuminated the fact that Cal Poly is home to a minority of conservative students that do not feel welcome voicing their views. This warrants concern because we all benefit from discussing politics in class.