Research Study shows Christian students' Perceptions of religious freedom in UK Universities

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: June 30, 2023

In a recent study by four universities focusing on religious experiences among university students showed that, although the majority of students perceived a diverse and open atmosphere to different religions, there was still a small percentage (10%) of students that felt pressured to withhold their beliefs. Christian students emerged prominently as one of the most affected religious groups, facing challenges and unique perceptions within secular academic environments.

In the executive summary, the study says that: "A small minority of students report encountering insensitive comments about their worldview from others on campus. Christian and Hindu students are the group most likely to report encountering this frequently among their friends or peers; Jewish students are the group most likely to report hearing frequent insensitive comments from staff." (Page 5)

While Christians have the highest percentage of students reporting feeling well-accommodated by staff and lecturers to "celebrating holidays and other important observances" to their worldview, they also have reported feeling mistreated. (Page 24)

On page 21, the study shows that 11% of Christian "report feeling mistreated on campus because of their worldview or religion ‘frequently’ or ‘all the time’", making them the second largest group feeling this way after the Jewish students. 

It also says that 13% of Christian students "report feeling silenced from sharing their experiences of prejudice and discrimination ‘frequently’ or ‘all the time’", also making them the largest percentage of Students after the Jewish group. 


On the positive side, the study indicates that there are positive outcomes of dialogue between religious groups and that the majority of the students are longing for this form of respectful exchange. (Page 35)

Source: Lucy Peacock, Mathew Guest, Kristin Aune, Alyssa N. Rockenbach, B. Ashley Staples and Matthew J. Mayhew (2023) Building student relationships across religion and worldview difference, Coventry University, Durham University, North Carolina State University and The Ohio State University

Symbolic photo by Shunsuke Ono on Unsplash