Poll: Unwillingness to donate and disapproval of residency requirement


The Berkeley Beacon Archives

Emerson College Polling Director Spencer Kimball.

By Elena Naze

A new poll from Emerson College Polling Society found a low willingness to donate after graduation, high favorability of professors and resident assistants, and a sizable disapproval of the updated residency requirements. 

The survey, conducted over the fall 2019 semester, marks the first time Emerson Polling Society focused on issues pertaining to Emerson and students at the college, Emerson Polling Society President Brendan Kane said in an interview. 

The poll is the first of two planned surveys for the 2019–20 academic year to keep track of trends with the possibility of adding additional questions centered around things happening at the college, such as attitude toward the sidewalk expansion.

The poll received 310 responses from students at the college, with a margin of error of 5.5 points. The poll covered topics such as favorability of college faculty, administration, and staff; student organization participation; and overall perception of the college and its various departments.

Kane said they were surprised at students’ favorability of their professors and RAs. An approval rating based on a 100 point scale—with 0 being the lowest and 100 being the highest— showed means of 82.6 and 80.93 percent, respectively. 

Communications Coordinator Camille Mumford and Kane also said that 39 percent of students are in more than three student organizations at the college. They also found that 45.1 percent of students disapprove of updates to the residency requirement, which now requires anyone who entered the college as a freshman after the fall 2017 semester to live on campus their first six semesters. 

The poll found that on a scale of 0 to 100, students gave Emerson’s administration a 65.3, Student Government Association a 64.9, and the college’s financial aid department a 42.3. 

Kane said the group is planning more political polls of the student body as the presidential primaries approach. 

“We may look at the democratic primary in the spring, since that’s when the actual elections will be held,” Kane said. “We didn’t really go into anything political in [the most recent poll], so that’s another possibility.” 

Emerson College Polling Society advisor Spencer Kimball came up with the idea to to conduct polls focusing on the college.

“We decided this semester to turn the lens around and look at our population of Emersonians,” Kimball said in an interview with The Beacon. “That’s where the idea came from—we do these polls of different towns, cities, states, so why not take a look at our college community?”  

Mumford said they conducted the poll to help introduce the new students in the club to polling, by learning the five elements of polling: writing questions, collecting data, finding a sample, analyzing results, and publishing. They did not conduct the poll on behalf of the school; however, Mumford did say the college is welcome to use the information. 

“We’re doing the student polls because it’s lower stakes and it’s a good way to get people to understand the entire process,” Kane said.

Kimball said one of the reasons he thinks the poll was successful because it was conducted by students about students. 

“I thought one of the keys to doing this poll is that it was run by the students,” Kimball said. “A lot of times data is being collected on campus about student attitudes, and it’s being told back, ‘Hey, this is how you feel.’ This way, I thought it added some credibility to the results, knowing the data was collected and analyzed by the students.”