Survey Measures Student Attitude Toward U.S. War in Iraq
The student poll was carried out in late January by a student organization calling itself,“Haverfordians Advocating Peace in Iraq” or HAPI. Numbering about 50 students, HAPI wanted to determine how the majority of Haverford College students felt about a U.S. war in Iraq, if they felt well informed, if there had been sufficient on-campus debate and discussion about the issue, and whether they would be willing to participate in anti-war events at the College. They also asked students to rate the quality of information they were receiving from the media.
HAPI members canvassed all of the students' residences and administered the survey in person. Eventually, they conducted interviews with 591 students out of a total student body of 1,105. Of those students who participated in the survey, 46.9% expressed strong feelings against a war with Iraq; 27.9% described themselves as“partially against” the war; 13.9% were undecided; 7.4% were partially supportive and 3.9% strongly supported a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Over 73% of the students indicated that they were either considering or definitely committed to getting involved in anti-war activities.
When asked how informed they felt about the issues, 40.5% of the students said they felt informed or“well informed;” 48.6% felt“partially informed;” while 10.8% felt uninformed. Over l/2 of the respondents indicated that they did not believe there had been enough discussion, debate and education on campus about U.S. policy toward Iraq,
Students were almost evenly divided in their opinions about the quality of information from media, which ranged from very poor and poor to adequate, good and very good.
Campus activists Sarah Morris and Megan Brooker were among the students who helped carry out the survey. While confirming their commitment to continue resistance to a war in Iraq, they said they believed any such effort should be based in education.“We've organized ourselves into committees to brainstorm about various actions we might take in opposition to the war, and we're networking with other college students in the Philadelphia area,” says Brooker, who compiled the survey results.
“We think the survey has shown that more education about the issues involved is HAPI's biggest priority,” she says,” and that we need to get as much information as possible out to the rest of the student body.” To this end, Morris and Brooker report that the group already is distributing informational packets on the issue throughout the campus, and a large contingent of their members are planning on attending a rally in Philadelphia on February 15. Other plans include letter-writing and phone campaigns to the White House and the creation of various artistic projects similar to the anti-war slogans that have been displayed at various locations around campus.
In addition to HAPI's efforts, other students have arranged for a formal debate between those who support a war in Iraq and those who are opposed to a U.S. invasion. Moderated by Haverford president Thomas Tritton, the debate will take place in the College's Whitehead Campus Center on Monday, February 17 beginning at 8 p.m.