Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

39° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Online poll responses may be a mixed bag

The responses recorded from the Undergraduate Budget Priority Committee poll, which UBPC members are currently researching, may not be useful, said Gabe Matlin, a system administrator for Associated Student Government who helped put the poll up and maintain the Web site.

“I don’t think this data is really that useful because it looks like a small number of people put in a large number of responses,” said Matlin, a McCormick senior. “It’s a little unethical to organize an effort to fill up a poll.”

The data lists all the responses students made at the poll.

There were more than 150 responses asking for more money for club sports. About 25 responses asked for a new squash court. However, many of those responses were repeated word-for-word.

Committee members factored in the multiple responses, said Erik Neinstedt, a Communication senior who serves as UBPC’s chairman.

“It was completely used as a brainstorming tool,” Neinstedt said. “I don’t care how many times it’s on there.”

Some of the responses wanted more money for crew team. The team spends about $100,000 annually, for boats and storage, said Elly O’Beirne, a Weinberg senior and captain of the women’s crew team.

The team has to do a lot of fund-raising and the need for money may have encouraged the teammates to fill out the poll, said Mary Zell, a Weinberg senior who is the alumni chairwoman for the crew team.

“Our president e-mailed the team and made us aware of the survey,” Zell said. “It probably encouraged some of us to fill out the (poll).”

The multiple responses for club sports helped UBPC recognize the need for more funding for club sports.

“This is the first time it came up, and it came up big time,” Neinstedt said.

The poll was open-ended, allowing students to give more than one idea.

But Matlin said he is concerned the poll does not accurately reflect what students want.

“I don’t think there is an easy way to see what the campus thinks is important by looking at the data,” Matlin said.

But Neinstedt said its a good first step to indicate students’ priorities.

Using the results from the poll, the committee would make a closed poll where students could vote on where they wanted money to be spent.

“The poll that we put up in February will help us prioritize the ideas we got from this initial poll,” Neinstedt said.

In retrospect, he said, the multiple-response problem could be fixed by creating a poll that only lets students respond once by typing in their Net ID and password.

“At the time we put the poll up we were trying to get it up as quickly as possible so we might have overlooked that,” Neinstedt said. “We might do that next year.”

Reach Ashima Singal [email protected].

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Online poll responses may be a mixed bag