Guardian Poll Distorted Campus Opinion

    Dear Editor,

    Embedded in your March 4 article, “KKK Hood Hung on Dr. Seuss Statue,” was a poll regarding racism on campus. I feel your findings in the poll are an inaccurate representation of the actual feeling on campus.

    The first reason as to why this poll sucks is the question it asks. When you ask, “Do you think racism is a problem on campus?” it infers that there is racism on this campus, and thus is a deliberate question that leads people to think a certain way. A much fairer question would ask whether or not people tend to feel that there is racism on campus.

    The next problem with your poll is its location. It is a poll put out in the Guardian. Your paper does not have a large readership, let alone a whole bunch of people who actually want to answer a poll question. Placing this question in your newspaper (or advertising it on your Web site) means that you are polling a group of people that regularly read your paper and probably have stronger opinions (either way) about the campus climate than does the student body in general. Basically, your sample was not randomized and happened to find the people who feel a certain way.

    I hope that this is a graph with a 95-percent confidence interval, but I cannot be sure. If this is a 95-percent confidence interval, you have a range of about 30.5 percent to about 41.5 percent. This means that your number could be significantly lower than you project.

    So in all reality, you are 95 percent certain that between 30.5 percent and 41.5 percent of the sample population think that racism is a problem on campus. As stated before, your question is not neutral, and your sample population isn’t representative of the student body.

    Lastly, at the end of your article, you said, “the hood is the latest incident in a two-week rise in hate speech throughout the UC system.” You refer to something written on a wall at UC Santa Cruz and then refer to something else about the vandalizing of the UC Davis LGBT Resource Center. Somehow, you don’t report the carving of a swastika into a Jewish student’s door that took place at UC Davis around the same time as the noose incident at UCSD. Next time, don’t leave that part out — you might just convince even more people that the Guardian embodies certain biases.

    —Steven Perlin

    Freshman, Revelle College

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