story by Dave Chappell, Managing Editor
In his first interview to The Octant in Oct. 2015, the new Dean of Students (DOS) at Yale-NUS College, Christopher Bridges, said that he wanted to listen to student concerns. He need listen no more. In the third week of classes, The Octant conducted an anonymous survey asking students to rank their their respective priorities for and satisfaction on a 10 point scale with the new Dean of Students. 59 students (over 10% of the student population) responded to our survey. The results are presented here:
- Dining Hall
Despite past concerns, the dining hall performed well, receiving the highest satisfaction score and ranking as the most important, according to respondents. This good performance can likely be attributed to the work of the new food provider SATS, the Senior Manager, Zoe Peters, whom one student praised for her work over the past semester, and the dining hall committee.
- Student Finance
Student finance was ranked second in terms of importance, yet received a mean satisfaction score of only 5.12, the second lowest. Reasons given for the low ranking primarily revolved around the length of time involved in processing claims, with one student saying the time delay was not only unfair but also “removed incentives to work for the College.”
One participant questioned whether it was possible to improve or amend the current system , “so as to tailor them to the needs of [Yale-NUS].”
- Community Events
Community Events ranked third in terms of performance, with a relatively high mean satisfaction score (6.55). Those who elaborated on their score for community events said that the DOS should aim to facilitate more whole College bonding through use of activities and spaces. One respondent suggested “setting up spaces for students to gather, mingle and meet.”
- Mental Health
Similarly, mental health ranked high in terms of both importance and satisfaction, with a mean score of 6.52. One participant stated that mental health should be top priority for DOS in order for students to “reach their full potential while [they] are here.”
Security received the third lowest average satisfaction rating (5.62), despite ranking fifth in terms of importance. One participant attributed their low rating “to the many loop-holes observed”, including how non-Yale-NUS students can get through gates and how students can take books out of the library without passing through the sensors by turning right at the top of the stairs.
- Student Organisation Support
While the student finance system received criticism, the DOS’s support for student organizations received some praise with the second highest satisfaction rating, making a mean score of 6.93. One student said that advice on sources of funding and procedures had been very helpful.
- Sexual Health
Sexual health received an average satisfaction score of 6.29 and ranked seventh. One participant suggested providing “regular [sexually transmitted disease] screenings” to students, while another proposed disseminating more information about obtaining the birth control pill.
Of the options, those surveyed ranked insurance as the lowest in terms of satisfaction, scoring it an average of 4.93 points. One student said that the current insurance policy was a “disaster waiting to happen,” on account of it not being comprehensive enough. The current insurance plan gives full coverage to accident related injuries and hospitalization, subject to the limit per claim, and limited coverage for medical and mental health conditions. However, other areas, such as pre-existing illness, sexually transmitted infection, contraceptives and pregnancy related conditions, are not covered, causing one participant to call for the introduction of an optional additional coverage.
- Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct received the second lowest mean importance rating and an average satisfaction score of 5.79. One participant said that sexual misconduct remained a taboo subject in the administration and urged the College to “not hide from these issues.”
- Alcohol Policy
The DOS’s alcohol policy received the least importance on average, with students also giving it the fifth highest satisfaction (6.31) score on average. Still, one participant did request that the DOS clarify whether or not Yale-NUS is a dry campus.
Other areas identified by students as areas to be improved included athletics funding and the Wi-Fi speed, with one participant raising concerns over being subject to “NUS’ restrictions on [their] use of the Internet,” and suggested Yale-NUS to build its own discrete system.
Mr. Bridges took office this semester, following the departure of previous Dean of Students Kyle Farley.