And the survey says: absolutely nothing

By By Chronicle Senior Staff

By Chronicle Senior Staff

U administrators and the student government have combined forces on yet another survey, supposedly aimed at answering the big question: Should health insurance be mandatory for U students?

The health insurance debate is one of the most daunting issues students currently face. According to a national survey conducted on our campus in 2004, about 18.1 percent of U students either did not have health insurance or did not know if they were insured. This means that, were health insurance mandatory for all U students, these 5,000 students would be forced to find a plan or drop out.

The Student Health Advisory Committee started a push to address this issue last year, holding several informational sessions for students to learn about the serious nature of insurance at the U.

Members of the committee found themselves speaking to their coworkers as students showed an overwhelming disinterest.

The Associated Students of the University of Utah later hopped on board, calling for student response to the issue in a more proactive way. At last, students began voicing their opposition to the mandate.

Then ASUU voted to further investigate it contrary to the student body’s negative response toward it.

And now we see the next step.

The administration and student government forged a committee and decided to conduct yet another survey. Aside from the fact that the student government portion of this committee has already proven itself blatantly biased by voting in opposition to its constituents’ requests, the new survey by which the committee is seeking student response is unscientific and unrepresentative.

Of the 29,012 students on campus, the administration will target 769 random people with a series of 12 questions, ranging from their ethnicity to how much they paid in medical expenses last year.

Of these targeted 769 students, administrators expect 20 percent-about 150 students-to reply, based on empirical data from similar surveys conducted in the past. But let’s give them kudos for attempting to sweeten the deal by entering respondents in a drawing for an iPod Nano.

So what does all this mean for you?

Roughly 150 students will be making a decision that could potentially force 5,000 of their peers to dig deeper into their pocketbooks-or drop out of college.

The administration and ASUU seem to be completely fine with that.

What exactly is the purpose of this survey? ASUU already discredited the survey process by voting against constituents’ requests. Wouldn’t members of the student government expect students to be disenchanted with the idea of surveys now?

The Legislature already overlooked another survey regarding students’ feelings on a potential recreational facility-but the survey was enough to convince the Board of Regents.

So there’s the issue. The administration needs some definitive evidence to show that it knows what the students want. Just some hard numbers to support the idea that this is what those kids need-at least according to 0.5 percent of the student body.

This survey is a form of selective democracy, as if to say to the other 28,243 of us: “Not only do we not care what your situation is, but we are not going to let you tell us.”

But there’s still a way to have your voice heard.

In The Chronicle’s equally unscientific survey, which often gets upward of 300 responses-twice that of the administration’s expectation in its survey-we ask whether you want health insurance to be mandated at the U. Voicing your opinion is as simple as pressing a button. Or, you could always detail how you feel on the subject by writing a letter to the editor.

We implore you to make your voice heard so there is a more representative record of what the students want for themselves and the future of the U.