At a school that sees protests over tuition and fees, campus climate, sexual assault and sustainability, the numerous challenges facing the campus and university can seem equally pressing. But when asked to rank which issues they prioritize, students drew clear distinctions between those they found most immediate and least urgent.
With a possible systemwide fee hike on the horizon, we were especially interested in students’ opinions on the fairness of the university’s tuition policies. Additionally, as sexual assault on college campuses increasingly becomes an issue of national concern, we wanted to gauge the student body’s level of trust in the campus administration’s handling of these cases.
We probed students’ opinions on these issues, in addition to asking about campus climate and student confidence in the UC Board of Regents and UC President Janet Napolitano. In some cases, significantly different answers reflected the diverse concerns of the student body. Other issues revealed a more unified opinion across demographics.
Tuition and fees and mental health were prioritized by all groups. Among members of the Greek community, sexual assault was ranked, on average, first by females and fifth by males. The importance of sexual assault also decreased uniformly with increasingly conservative political affiliation. All groups but one ranked divestment as their lowest priority.
Please view this site on a computer to display an interactive visualization of campus issues by demographic.
Conservative and very conservative students were more likely to think that the university’s tuition and fees are fair to students than their liberal and moderate counterparts.
The majority of every party, as well as voters who did not identify with a party, found the university’s tuition policy unfair to students. At 18 percent, CalSERVE had the lowest percentage of constituents who think tuition and fees are fair.
Support for the university’s current tuition policy was largely dependent on how students finance their education. Respondents who receive financial support were less likely to find the policy fair to students, while students receiving no financial aid were more likely to find the policy fair.
The majority of all respondents said they trusted the university and campus administrations either “only some of the time” or “never.” UC Berkeley’s administration was seen as more trustworthy than both UC President Janet Napolitano and the UC Board of Regents, with about one-third of respondents reporting that they trusted the campus “most of the time” or “just about always.”
Among racial groups, Hispanic/Latino students expressed the greatest distrust in the UC president, with 94 percent of respondents who identified as such saying that they trusted Napolitano “only some of the time” or “never.” A majority of students who identified with a race other than white, Asian or Hispanic/Latino expressed similar concerns.
While 20 percent of respondents who identified with Student Action said they “never” trusted Napolitano to do what is right, 54 percent of CalSERVE respondents selected that option.
The majority of all respondents said they trusted the campus administration to handle cases of sexual assault either “not at all” or “a little” — 83 percent of females and 70 percent of males chose one of those options.
While 35 percent of males who said they are in a social fraternity or sorority said they trusted the campus administration “mostly” or “completely” to handle cases of sexual assault, only 18 percent of female respondents involved with the Greek system expressed this degree of trust.
Respondents who identified as LGBTIQQA were less likely to trust the campus administration to handle cases of sexual assault, with more than half of the group reporting they didn't trust the campus at all.
Most students said they felt uncomfortable on campus “occasionally” or “never.” Only a small portion of respondents who identified as either male or female — about 10 percent for each group — reported feeling uncomfortable “very often” or “always.”
About 19 percent of those who identified as LGBTIQQA said they felt uncomfortable as a result of campus climate “very often” or “always,” in comparison with 11 percent of those who did not identify as LGBTIQQA.
Respondents who identified with a race other than white or Asian were more likely to report having felt uncomfortable on campus. About one-third of Hispanic/Latino students said the campus climate has “very often” or “always” made them feel uncomfortable.
Within each religious group, about the same proportion of respondents expressed feeling uncomfortable with the campus climate “very often” or “always.” Students who identified as Jewish or with a religion other than those listed, however, were slightly more likely to report feeling uncomfortable on campus.
Respondents who said they do not receive financial aid were, by a margin of about 8 to 9 percentage points, more likely to cite feeling uncomfortable with the campus climate only “occasionally” or “never” than students who receive grants, loans or some combination of the two.