University News

Undergrads favor student rep on Corp.

Paxson approval rating largely unchanged from last semester, with 42 percent approving

By and
University News Editors
Thursday, October 30, 2014
This article is part of the series Fall 2014 Student Poll

Please click the picture to view the matrix.

A Herald poll of undergraduates conducted last week found that about 82 percent of the student body supports some form of student representation on the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, while undergraduate opinion of President Christina Paxson’s handling of the presidency is basically unchanged from last semester.

In addition, a majority of students disapprove of reserving admission slots for recruited varsity athletes, compared to less than a third who approve of the practice, according to the Oct. 22-23 poll.

More than 60 percent of undergraduates reported interest in living at 257 Thayer — a new luxury student apartment complex on Thayer Street set to open next year — but about two-thirds of those individuals stated that cost would prohibit them from doing so.

 

University governance

Approval of Paxson’s job performance has held steady at 42 percent since The Herald’s March poll, while disapproval declined slightly from 25 percent to 23 percent.

The portion of the student body expressing no opinion about Paxson’s work as president increased slightly, from roughly 33 percent to 36 percent, continuing to rise after a low of 24 percent last November in the wake of the Ray Kelly incident and the Corporation’s decision not to divest the University’s endowment from coal companies.

An overwhelming majority of undergraduates support adding a student representative to the Corporation, with 60 percent favoring a student trustee with voting rights and about 22 percent supporting a non-voting student representative. Five percent oppose the idea of a student on the Corporation, and about 13 percent expressed no opinion on the matter.

The issue has been the subject of debate since the Undergraduate Council of Students’ spring campaign and election for its vice president and as recently as the last two UCS general body meetings, when Corporation members discussed the possibility with student leaders.

 

Applying for admission

A majority of undergraduates — about 54 percent — disapprove of setting aside admission spots for recruited varsity athletes, while just under 30 percent approve of the practice and about 16 percent reported having no opinion. Two years ago, the University cut the number of admission slots allotted to recruited athletes from 225 to 205 over the subsequent three-year period, implementing part of a set of measures former President Ruth Simmons proposed for changes to the athletics department.

The poll unearthed sharp disagreement between varsity athletes and the rest of the student body on the policy. About 84 percent of athletes approve of reserving admission slots, while just 12 percent disapprove. Among non-athletes, about 23 percent approve, compared to 59 percent who disapprove.

Over 88 percent of respondents said they were completely truthful in their college applications when applying to Brown. About 10 percent of respondents said they exaggerated the extent of their responsibilities or involvement in community service or an extracurricular activity. Roughly 1 percent indicated that they lied in the content of their essay.

 

Politics and Providence

The vast majority of student respondents — roughly three-quarters — were not familiar enough with the upcoming Providence mayoral election or Rhode Island gubernatorial election to indicate which candidate they support in either race.

Of those who did indicate a candidate preference in the mayoral race, the majority — 70 percent — support Democratic candidate Jorge Elorza. Seventeen percent support independent candidate Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, 6 percent support Republican candidate Daniel Harrop ’76 MD’79 and 7 percent support another candidate.

For the gubernatorial race, about 83 percent of those who indicated a candidate support Democratic nominee Gina Raimondo, while 12 percent support Republican nominee Allan Fung and 5 percent support another candidate.

Fifteen percent of respondents indicated that they were registered to vote in Rhode Island, though only about 9 percent of students are planning to vote in next week’s elections. Of those who are planning to vote, half support Elorza for mayor and 51 percent support Raimondo for governor.

Life at, away from and after Brown

When asked whether they would be interested in living at 257 Thayer, roughly 63 percent of respondents answered favorably. But about 43 percent of respondents answered that though they would like to live there, the price of leasing an apartment is too expensive. Eighteen percent indicated that they would not be interested in living at 257 Thayer, no matter the cost, and 5 percent indicated they were not interested in living off campus as upperclassmen.

About one-third of the student body has participated in research endeavors at Brown, according to poll results. Roughly 14 percent of respondents indicated that they participated in research during the summer through an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award or other research grant, 12 percent during the school year as a volunteer, 11 percent during the school year for course credit, 8 percent during the school year as a paid employee and 7 percent during the summer as a paid employee.

Of the two-thirds of respondents who indicated that they have not participated in research at Brown, more than 80 percent said they would like to do so in the future.

Poll respondents were divided on the University’s psychological leave-taking policies. A quarter registered approval and about 27 percent disapproval, while almost half of respondents reported having no opinion or said they were not familiar enough to answer.

Just under three-quarters of sophomore, junior and senior respondents acquired their most recent summer internship or job either by independently contacting and applying to positions directly or through personal connections, according to the poll. The former accounted for about 47 percent and the latter about 27 percent.

About 14 percent of sophomore, junior and senior respondents reported finding their latest summer internship or job through a Brown-sponsored career service, such as the CareerLAB, BruNet, the Job and Internship Board and the Industrial Partners Program. About 13 percent obtained their most recent summer position through a faculty member and 4 percent through other means, the poll showed.

Approximately 5 percent of sophomore, junior and senior respondents have never had a summer internship or job.