Considering that the library, Health and Rec, Information Technology (IT), something called PIRG, and a "Green Team" are all asking for new student fees next year (which could add up to over $150/semester by our calculations), it might be worth your time to take a look.
Here is a guest submission from a Sallygradstudent reader on the survey. Let's call him Joegradstudent:
Like many other students, I received an e-mail from Melissa Vito, Vice President for Student Affairs, asking me to take a survey about the proposed Health and Recreation Fee that we heard about last semester. I’ve attached a Microsoft Word document containing the e-mail and the survey.
The survey is disturbingly biased and seems to be deliberately designed to convince students to say they support the fee. If you’ve never been involved in designing a survey or writing appropriately neutral survey questions, you can look at any of the hundreds of books and websites that discuss how to insure the validity and accuracy of survey results. Here’s an example from a website that I chose randomly from Google search results, contrasting a bad leading question with a good neutral version:http://www.sciencebuddies.org/
Bad Question: Leading
Good Question: Neutral
Do you think that the new cafeteria lunch menu offers a better variety of healthy foods than the old one?
How do you feel about the new cafeteria lunch menu compared to the old one?
Applying a similar analysis to the first question from Melissa Vito’s survey:
The survey asks, “…indicate how supportive you are of … continued access to quality, low cost health care…” and your choices are:
( )Very supportive
( )Moderately supportive
( )Slightly supportive
( )Not supportive
( )No opinion
A more neutral version might look something like this:
1.“Do you support a fee to continue the current health care system” with choices:
( )No Opinion
2.“What is the quality of the current health care system?” with choices:
( )No Opinion
3.“What is the cost of the current health care system?” with choices:
( )No Opinion
Many of the questions in Melissa Vito's survey are just as biased and leading. Additionally, as you work your way through the survey, if you indicate that you don’t support the fee, you’re then taken to a section of the survey that is nothing less than a sales pitch that tries to change your mind.
In the past, I’ve always been surprised when the University has claimed that surveys indicate that students want to increase fees. If all of the “surveys” are like this one, I think I understand now.
This survey is significantly flawed and we should object to any attempt by the University to claim that the results of this survey are valid. We can probably also find a well-credentialed faculty member or two who would be willing to write an analysis of the survey. Finally, it would also be interesting to look at some of the other surveys the University has used in the past to support increasing fees and tuition.
Survey Student Fees
Don't forget to write to your GPSC or ASUA representative and tell them what you are and are not willing to pay for!