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Students support early admission, affirmative action, Herald poll finds

Students overwhelmingly support the College's early admission program and largely favor considering racial diversity in the admission process, a recent Herald poll found.

Though Harvard and Princeton universities made headlines last fall when they announced plans to drop their early admission programs, most Brown students believe the University should continue to offer the program. Seventy-three percent of Brown undergraduates polled said they support having an early admission program, while just 15 percent said they oppose having one.

Most respondents - 53 percent - said they support considering race and ethnicity in the college admission process to promote campus diversity, while 30 percent said admission should be based solely on merit. But when students were asked if preference should be given to children of alums, 57 percent opposed doing so, while 23 percent supported it.

The poll, conducted from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, has a margin of error of 4.7 percent, except for a question about on-campus needs, which has a margin of error of 5 percent.

When asked what they thought were the University's most pressing on-campus needs for improvement, 35 percent of respondents said student financial aid, 21 percent said on-campus housing and 11 percent said hiring more faculty. A smaller number of students thought the University should improve social spaces, athletics facilities or classroom and labs.

President Ruth Simmons' approval among students remains enviably high. Eighty-one percent of students said they approve of how she is doing her job, versus 4 percent who disapprove. Still, her approval rating is slightly lower than it was a year ago, when a Herald poll found 87 percent of students voicing their approval of Simmons.

The poll also found that only 44 percent of students said they were aware of the University's new alcohol and drug policies, versus 53 percent who were unaware. The new policies were recommended by two University committees - an ad hoc committee to review social event policy, which was created in November 2005 and completed its work in March 2006, and the permanent Campus Life Advisory Board Subcommittee on Alcohol and other Drugs, which produced a report on the University's alcohol and drug policies last August. The committees' recommendations included requiring a per-drink charge at parties, prohibiting re-entry into some social events and requiring further training for party organizers.

Though every Ivy League institution except for Brown requires students to study a foreign language, most Brown students oppose such a requirement, with 70 percent against it, compared to 27 percent who said they favor a requirement.

Only 44 percent of students said they believe the University's English requirement, which requires students to "demonstrate competence in writing" in order to graduate, is fulfilled by all undergraduates, versus 38 percent who said they didn't believe the requirement was met.

The Undergraduate Council of Students continues to enjoy modest support among its constituents, with 46 percent of students approving of the way it is handling its job, a slight increase in support since last fall's Herald poll found 38.9 percent approval for the council. Twenty percent disapprove of how UCS is handling its job, and 34 percent of students said they didn't have an opinion of UCS, compared to 42 percent who said they didn't have an opinion last semester.

Most students leave College Hill at least once a week, the poll found. Thirty-three percent of students venture down the Hill once a week, 20 percent do so several times a week, 31 percent said they leave a couple of times per month and 15 percent said they leave only a couple of times each semester.



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