NROTC Survey Results for CC, SEAS, GS: NROTC Loses By 39 Votes

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Final results for the NROTC vote were just announced for three of the four undergraduate schools (CC, SEAS, and GS), with an extremely close result. From CCSC president George Krebs’s weekly email:

“The NROTC poll was closed at 9 am Monday morning and here’s the tally:

We sent out 6913 email invitations, including all CC, SEAS, and GS

undergraduate students. We received 2971 valid votes, representing 43% of the population.

1463 YES, 49.24%;

1502 NO, 50.56%;

6 ABSTAIN, 0.20%.

There were concerns about students being able to vote multiple times.  The Student Development and Activities office, which compiled the results, have assured us that one UNI was given one vote. Multiple votes were not counted. If a student attempted to vote multiple times,  only the last vote they cast was counted.”

Results for Barnard students, who used a different poll that closed later in the day, expect numbers to start pourng in around noon today.

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  1. Concerned student  

    Columbia should ignore these results and bring in NROTC regardless of the student votes. These issues should not be open to vote.

    • Ray  

      I concur. Clearly, there is support for having NROTC on campus.

      • The poll shows that  

        clearly, there is greater (51%) support for keeping it OFF campus.

        • OH please  

          Seriously, 51% of 43% of the population is a huge mandate?

          What this poll says to me is that the majority of students don't care. Literally, the majority of students don't care. 57% of them couldn't be bothered to click YES/NO from their computers.

        • Hopefully thoughtful

          Don't fail to realize that 57% of the voting population didn't vote. It shows that most people don't see the issue as directly affecting them, not caring either way. While this is disturbing it is also expected of any voting population.

          While we tacitly recognize that the vote is not binding, it is meant to give the senate more information about the opinions of the student body.

          I am frankly surprised by the results. Though they failed to win a majority, NROTC's strong showing would make it more difficult for the senate to not take up the issue next semester.

          • Disturbing?  

            I fail to see how the fact that the majority of students didn't vote is disturbing.

            Both sides presented their arguments to me numerous times.

            I debated both sides and brought up their flaws.

            Both sides failed to convince me that they were correct.

            Hence I did not vote. I see no apathy in this progression.

        • response  

          "clearly, there is greater (51%) support for keeping it OFF campus."

          So we're supposed to deny the 49% who want this opportunity on campus? Stop suppressing the minority!

    • hmm  

      I suspect you wouldn't feel that way if your side had won

    • But...  

      If you support NROTC on campus, how can you be against the idea of a student poll to gauge opinion on the matter? Since the NROTC ban is existing university policy, it's up to the pro-NROTC folks to make their voices heard like this--not the other way around.

      One could argue that, since CU already has a ban in place, the pro-NROTC crowd is the one who should have left this issue alone rather than put it to a vote...

  2. honest question

    if columbia's educational and programming offerings are subject to referendum, does that mean I can get a referendum to shut down the Women's Studies Department and the OMA?

  3. Curious

    What would the vote be if DADT was repealed?

    And, what is the breakdown by school?

    • I'd guess...  

      that the vote would have passed in favor of "Yes" if this were the case. I know that DADT was the deciding factor for me to vote no. I would have most certainly voted yes if it weren't for that.

  4. the vote

    it was not tied to any specific course of action.

    It was meant to reflect student opinion.

    Which is split right down the middle. Interesting.

  5. bwog!  

    a pipe broke on the 10th floor of hartley...our suite bathroom is flooding (not too much water, but it spread outside of the bathroom). this is ridic.

  6. i wonder  

    Did the presumably large # of students who would want (N)ROTC back if DADT is repealed tend to vote yes or no? They could say yes, expressing support or (N)ROTC; then again, they probably said no, because DADT is still in place?

  7. Plaxico Buress  

    Hahaha, looks like NROTC just became NO-ROTC =D

  8. wow  

    thats almost as close as the good ship LE:MON Party's tragic loss to Mark Johnson by 33 votes!!!dd

  9. The assurace  

    that only the last vote was counted doesn't mean anything. The whole point was that the hackers could go in and vote for you again, thus casting the last vote (i.e. the one that was counted).

  10. voter turnout  

    43% is actually more than the percentage of Americans who usually vote on non-election years, and only 10 percentage points less than the percentage that votes on presidential years--just saying

    • poster 16  

      I meant to say 43% is more than the number that votes on non-presidential election years. Clearly it would be more than the percentage that votes on non-election years. Damn you sleep deprivation!

  11. ah ha!!!  

    thank you jesus. i was totally expecting the typical columbia response to NROTC and to be disappointed but thank you! thank you for surprising me and reassuring in me some hope in the student body here..

    also only 43% was in an email to you. you could do it in bed, high, eating pizza...hahah apathy is incredible.

  12. lolz  

    suddenly not so democratic pro-nrotc-ers?

  13. you guys

    the purpose of the survey was to reflect student opinion and-- should the issue arise in the Senate-- have senators vote according to the breakdown.

    The extreme similarity of results (no side garnered 51%, by the way) means that undergraduate senators would theoretically divide half and half.

  14. wheres


    i cant be bothered to pick up an actual newspaper, and their website sucks.

  15. Brody Berg's  


  16. hahahahahah  



  17. Surprised Lion  

    I'm surprised that 49% voted Yes. That is definitely something to consider. I'm also surprised that a lot of the students here still view POLLS and VOTES as a HORSE RACE. Neither side "won" -- this was never a race. Start thinking about the whole and less about being right.

  18. logically speaking  

    People who would like to bring change clearly voted. People who paid enough attention and very much oppose the change, voted. The rest, probably like the status quo and thus did not vote. Therefore, I assume closer to 75% of Columbia is against bringing NROTC to campus.

    • logically speaking  

      That makes no sense. The vote was either to maintain the status quo or to change it. People who like the status quo would have voted. The people who did not vote probably don't care either way.

      • you're  

        underestimating the apathy of the average columbia student.

        (didn't vote)
        (could argue either side)
        (prefer them off campus but wont infringe on others desires to have them here)

  19. lol  

    Pro-NROTC guys, it's over. Stop bitching and trying to discredit the vote. This is clearly a case of sour grapes.

    There is no mandate for changing the status quo.

  20. Statistician  

    Basically, these results are completely meaningless. Questionable premise, too many biases to count, possibility of fraud, and results within the margin of error. Yup, sounds like a colossal waste of time to me.

    • hey there  

      You do realize that there IS no margin of error - this is the entire distribution. This isn't fivethirtyeight anymore. We're not talking about polls - we're talking about the entire voting populations.

      You can't have a margin of error if the sample size is the same as the population size.

  21. I voted no  

    but these results are surprising. I had no idea NROTC had this much support (and I realize the polling system was crap so I'm not going to declare "victory" or whatever).

    In any case, I think this issue is anything but decided. With this much campus support, there needs to be much more dialogue – I feel the conversation this time around was rushed and distracted due to the election – but I also feel like this issue would be best voted on after a decision is made on DADT, which swung my vote (as I'm sure it did for many other people).

  22. SEAS Senator

    People really should keep reading bwog comments... I wrote about this a week ago.

    The only need for the survey was to help the senators vote. This isn't a binary win/lose issue.

    Now, pending the release of a by-school breakdown without which this survey really is meaningless and the councils really would have screwed up:
    1 CC senator will have to vote Yes, 1 CC senator will have to vote no. The third may choose her position.
    SEAS senators may choose abstain because the graduate SEAS students who they also represent were not counted despite demands to do. Otherwise 1 will vote No and the other will have a choice in votes between Yes, No or abstain.

    The GS Senator must vote no.

    UPDATE: BC senator must vote No after a 62% vote against.

    All but BC is contingent on the by-school breakdowns being exactly what this poll showed.

    However, if GS had a margin of 70-30 the GS Senator should vote Yes but we'll see. The same applies to local populations in CC and SEAS. Only CC, SEAS, and BC senators have pledged to represent their constituency (again this is a slight issue for the SEAS guys but we'll work it out soon with the EGSC).

  23. No issue  

    like this should be determined by 39 votes. Especially when the legitimacy of the voting process is uncertain.

    If this is truly the way that students feel, then a legitimate vote will have the same results.

    I support the outcome, but not if it was dertermined in a false manner.

  24. What?

    The population is the entire university population, which is what the Senators were (presumably) interested in. The survey results were a sample of the population that chose, for whatever reason, to participate.

    • a full explanation  

      No, that's not true.

      Statistically, nonresponse is considered part of the sampled population. The portion of the 7441 who did not respond were still sampled because they were given the option to express an opinion, and they abstained from voting. This is different from contacting 2965 out of those 7441 and polling this smaller sample population to figure out the opinions of the 7441 students as a whole. Their lack of response must be considered part of the experimental results, and any attempt to 'correct' the results for their opinions would be counting theirs twice.

      Think of it this way: you have a bag of M&Ms, and you want to figure out how many red ones there are versus how many blue ones. One crude method would be to take a random sample of 43% of them and extrapolate the proportions to the rest of the bag. Every single one is red or blue, in this case, because every single on of those 43% of people who answered said 'yes' or 'no' (ignore the six idiots who didn't respond - it's insignificantly small).

      Now, suppose you count every single candy in the bag and find that 21.1% are red, 21.5% are blue, and the rest are yellow. You are only trying to figure out how many reds there are in proportion to blue in this experiment. Thus, the 57% of M&Ms that are neither red nor blue make no difference. You cannot extrapolate the 21.1%/21.5% ratio to the 'rest of the candies' in the bag, because you already know that they are neither red nor blue (or, in the NROTC case, not opinionated enough to vote).

      There is no margin of error for the candies in the bag, because every single piece of candy has been counted.

      I understand that we're talking about an online poll and not M&Ms in a bag, but sometimes, it's easiest to see statistical principles when you make them physical like this.

      • Statistician  

        Nice explanation to #43. My use of the term "margin of error" was misleading since it's specific to sampling variability; you're right.

        Conjecturally, however, there's likely to be random variation even within a census when the response is binary on an issue with fine gradations of opinion. Consider typical 1-5 survey questions along the lines of Strongly Support, Support, Neutral, Oppose, Strongly Oppose, etc. Presuming some fraction of the population is Neutral but might vote anyway (out of say, sense of democratic duty or peer pressure), particularly since votes could be changed many times (encouraging the ambivalent to vote!), I think it quite probable there would be significant variation in popular opinion (potentially more than 39 votes) every time this identical survey were to be put to the campus.

  25. hey  

    what was the brakdown of votes by school?

  26. Splits?

    How come only Barnard's vote is known?

    Given that the NROTC initiative came out of SEAS, and reciprocally, NROTC is most interested in SEAS engineers at Columbia, it's conceivable NROTC would benefit SEAS students disproportionately at Columbia. So, we shouldn't we at least know what SEAS students think about NROTC return?

    Especially, if the senators were going to view their school's vote as a recommendation, if not an obligation, it doesn't make sense that we only know the aggregate total for CC, SEAS and GS. With only a 39 vote spread among 3 colleges, it's conceivable 2 of the 3 college student bodies actually voted in favor of NROTC, which would change the entire viewing dynamic of the results.

  27. donde esta!?  

    where is fox news!? i was hoping for some entertainment on the o'reilly factor tonight.

  28. i just wanna say  

    WE WON!

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