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COR: Group deliberates details of second survey

Liz O'Donnell | Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Council of Representatives (COR) discussed changes for the new student survey in their meeting on Tuesday evening.

The survey, which is scheduled to be released early next week, includes questions on a range of topics, from off-campus living to diversity and inclusion.

Members of the Council made few changes to the survey, but tried to clarify thewording of the questions to make them as lucid as possible.

Student body president Bob Reish said the way the questions are phrased was designed to provide the most accurate results possible for garnering data about specific topics.

Council members asked for clarifications about the format of the survey.

“The survey should contain clear-cut, simple language,” sophomore class president Cynthia Weber said.

Council members debated whether to eliminate the answer choice of “not sure” in the survey. Reish, however, said the answer was included so a student was not forced to respond to a question he or she was uncomfortable answering.

This year, the questions on the survey will have four answer choices instead of three. Reish said this will encourage students to lean to one side of an issue instead of remaining in the middle.

The survey will include questions on different performing arts venues. More specifically, questions about “art points” will be added to the survey.

These points will work similar to flex points, which caused members of COR to question whether this would lead to an increase in fees.

A section of questions dedicated to sexual assault and sexual orientation will be on this survey.

One question in this section will gauge student opinion on recognition of a club for gay and lesbian students.

Another question COR discussed at length concentrated on relations between Notre Dame and the South Bend community. They said this question is important because it will help student government better grasp the breakdown of responses from different areas of the student body.

“The survey helps us to filter out the responses to questions to target students who currently live off campus, students who will be living off campus next year and students who will be living on campus,” Reish said.

Reish said the responses student government receives from the off-campus questions will help leaders decide if they should become more involved with off-campus living or whether the University should pursue this policy area.

“We need to see what student government’s role is in relation to the University in providing information about off-campus things,” Reish said.

After going over the survey, the floor was then opened for members of COR to suggest additional questions to the survey.

Weber said students should be given the option of answering an open-ended question about how well they feel student government is currently doing and what they thing student government should be doing.

“Some people don’t think student government should address pressing issues and instead leave that up to the administration,” she said. “We should see what students think we should be doing.”

Another suggested topic was to add additional questions on the Good Samaritan policy at the University.

There is a committee composed of Student Union Board and Campus Life Council members addressing this issue and trying to come up with the best possible questions.

Reish said it was important for the COR members to give their feedback on the survey because it is highly influential to the actions of student government.

“Over half the student body filled out the last survey sent out,” he said. “It is really important because it has the potential to change student government.”

In other COR news

uReish asked COR members for feedback on what they would like to see discussed at the Intercollegiate Symposium that will take place on March 28. Members suggested a range of topics including the usage of student finances and services provided to students.

uCOR said goodbye to two-year member Kadeja Gaines. The Student Union Treasurer will be replaced by the new Student Union Treasurer Nick Danna at the next meeting.