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Student Discontent Revealed in UA Poll

By Brett Altschul

Of the 1,148 undergraduates who voted in the Undergraduate Association's poll on housing, 1,004 said that they felt that it was not beneficial to house all freshmen on campus in 2001, according to results released late Wednesday night.

UA President Paul T. Oppold '99 said the results were an indication that the UA should "speak to President Vest, to try to convince him to go back to what we had."

However, Dean for Student Life Margaret R. Bates said this was unlikely. "President Vest's decision was very carefully thought out, and the likelihood of the resolution changing his mind is not very great," she said.

"I think it never hurts for groups to express their opinion," she said. "On the larger issues, obviously those are for further discussion. Particularly on the residence, I think it's particularly positive.

"To me, it seems we ought to be focusing our energies on preserving the values that would cause us to oppose the change under a less constrained system," Bates said.

Voters did not have the option of answering anything other than "yes" or "no"' to the question.

"I think this is a question that most people have a strong opinion on, so an undecided' option was unnecessary," said Jennifer C. Berk '01, co-chair of the UA Committee on Housing and Orientation.

Other questions rate options

For all the questions except the one about housing freshmen on campus, voters gave each possibility a rating from one to five, five being the most favorable.

The first ten questions covered rush in dormitories and fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups. The numerical rankings were labeled for the first nine questions as "very unsatisfactory," "unsatisfactory," "neutral," "satisfactory," and "very satisfactory.".

Questions 11 through 21 covered aspects of the new dormitory. In this area, the numerical rankings were categorized as "very undesirable," "somewhat undesirable," "neutral," "somewhat desirable," and "desirable." The highest rated suggestions were lounges, kitchens, and event spaces, with scores above four - 4.40, 4.22, and 4.04, respectively.

A possible dining hall earned a rating of 3.86. This indicates that the dining hall and kitchens, suggested by the Campus Dining Working Group, are strongly supported by students, Oppold said.

All the other possibilities for the dormitory scored in an intermediate range, between 2.8 and 3.5.

"The things that stand out are the things that I also see as important: kitchen space, lounge space, and dining hall," Bates said. "The other things are in the mediums, and that's not surprising."

"I think it reinforces what we're hearing from the small groups," she said.

"We met with the Planning Office and presented them with the results," said Matthew G. McGann '00, co-chair of the UA Committee on Housing and Orientation.

"I think they were very receptive," McGann said, both of the results of the poll and of what the UA had learned from talking to undergraduates, he said.

Rush questions favor old system

The ten questions on rush indicated a strong preference for the status quo among voters.

The mean scores for the dormitory rush options decreased monotonically as the options ranged away from the current system. The current system scored 4.11, while the idea of having the dormitories and floors selected entirely in advance earned on 1.54, the lowest rating in the entire poll.

"For the UA as a whole, our first priority is to keep dormitory rush in its current from," McGann said.

The current FSILG rush system scored 4.25. The highest-rated alternate system, in which freshmen would rush during Orientation, as they do now, but not move off campus until their sophomore year, scored only 2.55.

Other options generally scored lower and lower as rush was moved later and later in the freshman year.