Polling reveals undergraduate thought on University issues

May 12, 2016, 12:25 a.m.

In The Stanford Daily’s second poll of 2016, 61.1 percent of Stanford undergraduates reported feeling that Stanford was moving in the right direction, while the remaining 38.9 percent felt Stanford was going in the wrong direction. The poll also asked students about a wide range of topics, ranging from President Hennessy to the 50/50 burgers featured in Stanford Dining halls.

John Hennessy (Courtesy of Stanford News Service)
John Hennessy (Courtesy of Stanford News Service)

Stanford president John Hennessy holds an approval rating of +12 percentage points during his final year in office. Of those polled, 41.4 percent approved of Hennessy, while 29.1 percent disapproved and 29.4 percent did not know or had no opinion.

Incoming Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavinge holds an approval rating of +18 percentage points. The poll saw 34.8 percent of respondents approve of Tessier-Lavinge, 16.5 percent disapprove and 48.6 percent have no opinion or not know.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne (Courtesy of Stanford News Service)
Marc Tessier-Lavigne (Courtesy of Stanford News Service)

A University spokesperson declined to comment on President Hennessy’s approval rating and the direction of the University.

More students approve of the demands of the Who’s Teaching Us (WTU) Movement than oppose the demands. However, the support was far from overwhelming. Of those that voted, 26.8 percent strongly approved of the WTU demands and 23.8 percent approved, while 19.6 percent disapproved and 13.3 percent strongly disapproved. 10.2 percent of respondents were neutral and 6.3 percent responded “don’t know.”

Only a small minority of students expressed concern over short-term post-graduation job prospects. When asked “How confident are you that you will be able to find a good job within six months of your graduation?” 57.2 percent of respondents answered “yes”, 11.4 percent answered “no” and 31.4 percent selected the option, “I plan on pursuing non-employment related pursuits directly after graduation (e.g. grad school).”

Opinion was split on the issue of the 50-50 beef-mushroom burgers found in Stanford’s dining halls. Of those polled, 28.9 percent had a favorable opinion of them, 25.6 percent had an unfavorable opinion, 23.8 percent held a neutral opinion and 21.7 percent responded “I don’t eat at Stanford Dining Halls often enough to have an opinion.”

In a statement to The Daily, Jocelyn Breeland, a spokesperson for Residential & Dining Enterprises, said that the 50-50 burgers had considerable environmental benefits and “were introduced following consultations among students, our chefs and our meat purveyor.”

“Research by the Culinary Institute of America and UC Davis has shown that consumers prefer the taste of the flavorful blended burger over 100 percent beef burgers,” Breeland said. “We continue to test new blended burger recipes and to seek student feedback about this and other aspects of our dining program.”

The poll of 334 Stanford undergraduates was taken via email survey between May 5 and May 10. The margin of error for each question is roughly plus or minus 6 percent. Not all respondents answered every question but all questions were answered by at least 321 respondents.


Contact Arielle Rodriguez at arielle3 ‘at’ stanford.edu and Caleb Smith at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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