PRAVDA - Address from the President

December 2, 1996.

WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED that the picture accompanying this editorial would be the largest controversy in my term. In hindsight, I would like to thank my friend who convinced me not to follow through with the my original concept: "A Note from the Throne".

GAME SHOWS just aren't what they used to be. I can say that with a certain amount of authority as I grew up a game show junkie. You name it, I watched it. Everything from big budget Hollywood extravaganzas to under-funded Canadian flops. I used to dream of hosting my own game show. Sadly enough, today's column is the closest I have come as I get to play Richard Dawson (or Ray Combs, RIP). No, I'm not talking about kissing girls and hoping they pull out the lollipop with the black stick, I'm talking about wheeling around and saying those fateful words: "Survey Says!"

THE FIRST semiannual student survey and opinion poll is what I'm talking about. I thought of creating a spiffy acronym, but let's face it, there are too many acronyms out there already. Now let's analyze the name I have picked. The first implies that there will be more, and I hope future USC people will continue with this idea. The semiannual (which I thought was a hyphenated word) implies that there will be two of these a year - the Presidential elections in mid-February, and the bi-elections in October. We already hire poll clerks to administer the elections, so it will be inexpensive to run, and the survey may start attracting more voters. I hope that completing the survey will become a routine procedure that students will come to expect. Finally, the words survey and opinion poll are a tad redundant, but I think you need both to fully explain what we've done.

I HAVE COMPILED The results and have included them on page two. I have also identified some of the more interesting trends. Overall, I think the project was successful, but It has definitely been a learning experience. I received a lot of complaints about the length of the survey, and I apologize - I was overzealous. Also, for February's survey, I want people with a psychology or statistics background to help phrase the questions and make them better. For example, the bus pass question was often misunderstood, and it will be hard to interpret the results.

NO BIG SURPRISES for me, really. I often have to speak on behalf of students without knowing for sure how they feel. I can now say with more authority that students are not excited about tuition increases, we do not always feel University decisions are going our way, and maybe now I can convince my VP Communications that we should have a small Westernizer next year. I was a little surprised with results of the orientation question, but the question was poorly designed and after talking to many students, I have found the Christmas vacation factor has been blown way out of proportion. I was also concerned that many students need to be better educated about their ancillary fees (Question 7), and the survey has confirmed my suspicions. And finally, only a minority of students have said that they believe the USC is representing them well. I think this means three things: we need to do more, we need to do better, and we have to better communicate what we do.

GOOD LUCK on your exams, and enjoy the vacation, I know I'm looking forward to a few days off. Maybe I'll even get a chance to cuddle up with some chicken soup and watch a few game shows.

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