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University of Iowa
UI UNDERGRAUATE STUDENTS’ OPINIONS TOWARD THE PARKING SITUATION ON CAMPUS
Final Report
Lauren Baker, Kristin Skoglund, Brittany Caplin, Colleen Kennedy, Rosaline Sixby, Kelly O’Neill, Jordan Taylor, Melissa Payne, Beth Wendling, and Kathleen Graham
5/4/2010

Research Purpose

The purpose of this project was for our group to conduct a probability-sampling survey of the undergraduate students at the University of Iowa.  When trying to determine a topic, each member in our group knew that we wanted to choose a topic that would be important and useful for the future of our campus.  We ultimately decided that we wanted to interview freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior students to gain insight on their thoughts and opinions towards UI’s parking situation.  We chose this topic because as students of this university, we have all been impacted by the availability and convenience of parking there is around campus.  Each of us have experienced countless amounts of times where we had a need for parking whether we were going to class, running errands, going out to eat, etc.  Based on our own experiences, we knew that this topic was significant because not only has the parking situation affected each of us, but also we were certain that it has most likely affected every member of UI’s student body at one point in time.

Our group made two hypothesizes regarding what the undergraduate students’ overall feelings toward UI’s parking situation would be.  First, we predicted that since many freshmen do not drive as often as most sophomores, juniors, and seniors, they would not view parking as an important issue on campus.  Second, we thought that students who had a car at school would consider parking as a larger issue than students who did not have a car at school.  Before beginning our research, our group tried finding other existing studies similar to ours to compare their research method and hypothesizes to ours.  Unfortunately, no one in our group could find any other studies that surveyed students regarding the parking situations at their university.  Nevertheless, we did find a website called College Prowler that surveys thousands of students at various universities each year in order to get their opinions on what life is like on campus.  Each student surveyed is asked a variety of questions regarding their school’s academics, athletics, campus housing, and parking.  After every student completes the survey, they are awarded an entry into College Prowler’s $1000 Monthly Survey Scholarship.  Students can earn additional entries into the scholarship drawing by referring their friends to take the survey.  Moreover, College Prowler’s survey found that UI students ranked parking as the number one complaint on campus.  At Indiana University, the results to their survey showed that parking is viewed as an important issue on their campus as well.  Students’ responses from the survey indicated that not only are there limited parking spots around campus, but also the “zones” that indicate where students and faculty are allowed to park are extremely confusing.  In addition, the results from the survey taken at Michigan University proved that students also view parking as a large problem on their campus.  The student’s responses from the survey claimed that not only are there limited spots around campus for students to park, but also that the university’s parking permits are expensive.  Moreover, College Prowler showed our group that not only is the parking situation viewed as an important issue on the University of Iowa’s campus, but also on many other college campuses across the country.

Overall, we believe that our survey research will lead us to the conclusion that the undergraduate students at the University of Iowa have overwhelmingly negative views about the parking situation around campus.  We also hope that throughout our research, we will be able to discover potential solutions to this significant problem based upon what the most frequent complaints are from UI students.  Moreover, our group hopes that the University of Iowa Parking and Transportation department will take the information we collect into consideration when they are considering any changes or alternatives to the parking situation around campus.  It is our hope that this research will provide a foundation for the improvement to campus-wide parking options.

Questionnaire

The first draft of our survey consisted on 20 questions, but they were not focused on a specific topic.  For example, one of our questions asked students about their satisfaction with parking near their home or work.  After meeting with Yao, our group realized that we were not concerned about students’ satisfaction with parking options near their home or work.  Instead, our group wanted their opinions about parking around campus.  In addition, our group did not specify what was considered on and off campus and students could have been mistaken between the two.  “Home” and “off-campus” are both relative terms that could apply to many different areas.  Our group later decided that if we took the time to clarify every location that we considered to be “on” and “off” campus, our survey would be too long and the respondents would most likely lose interest quickly.  Therefore, we removed many questions about parking near home or off campus because we needed more analytical and focused questions.

Our final questionnaire that we came up with after meeting with Yao was an online survey that consisted of 20 questions that allowed us to gauge the approval of on campus parking for University of Iowa undergraduate students.  The area we defined as “on campus parking” consisted of downtown Iowa City, which included all of the bars and shops along the streets of Clinton, Dubuque, Washington, and Iowa. The streets by major University of Iowa buildings where most classes are held were included as well.  This includes areas from Clinton to the Field House on the other side of the river.

The first two questions our group decided to use are demographic ones, which are close ended questions.  This was because one of the hypotheses was predicting that freshman would not view parking as an important issue because most freshman do not have cars at school.  Instead, they rely on the cambus to pick up and drop them off right in front of their dorms, classes, and downtown.  In order for us to best address our hypothesis, our group knew it was important to have students clarify their year in school.  We also asked whether the respondents were male or female in hopes that it was an even response rate for comparison at the end of the survey.

Question 3 was a close ended question that asked if the participant had a car.  It was important to ask how many students had a car because we wanted to know who personally experienced the parking situation. Knowing whether or not students have cars showed us how familiar they are with the parking situation.  One of our other hypotheses is that students who had a car at school would consider parking to be a larger issue than students who do not have a car at school. In order to prove this hypothesis, we needed a direct question.

Questions 4 and 5 were both close ended questions that addressed where and how often the individuals park.  These questions would help us understand how dependent students were on their cars and if there was one area on campus that the majority of students were driving such as to their classes or the gym.  Their responses to these questions would help clarify if they were biased towards one area of campus or another popular spot downtown.

Questions 6 through 9 helped us to determine where students park when they go to class or downtown and also how they rate their satisfaction with that parking area.  We wanted these questions to ask about students’ satisfaction about the specific parking area that we chose to do our survey about.  Questions 6 and 8 ask the participants to check all the options that apply to them.  We did this format instead of just a close ended question because depending on where the student’s class is located or where they’re headed downtown, there are different types of parking availability that students would use more than others.  Ranking on a scale of 1-5 was easy to analyze and didn’t give the participants too many choices to describe their satisfaction.  On our previous survey, we used a scale of 1-10 which was difficult because there were too many choices.  Even we didn’t know the distinction between a 7 or 8.  A scale of 1-10 was too broad and it would have been difficult for participants to pinpoint their opinions and even more difficult for us to interpret what they meant.

Question 10 was extremely important because that would help us determine solutions that we asked for later in our survey.  If we knew which payment method was the most successful, it would help us draw conclusions about implementing more meters or parking ramps with a different type of payment that was more popular among students.

Question 11 was another way to discuss the problems and dissatisfaction with parking on campus.  If most students receive parking tickets more than once a month, then they would more likely be dissatisfied with parking.  If most students who took our survey received tickets frequently, then receiving tickets might be a reason why they are dissatisfied with parking overall.

Questions 12 and 13 were close-ended questions with yes or no answers.  Question 12 helped us determine if being towed was a bigger issue than being ticketed for student drivers, or if towing was even a problem at all.  Question 13 highlighted the inconvenience that students have faced while trying to park.  If finding a parking space was affecting a students’ ability to get to class on time, then this is a major problem that the university should address.  This again is another indication of dissatisfaction among our polling sample and would help us gain a better sense of how much of a problem parking is around campus.

Question 14 was a rating scale question that was used to determine the fairness of the ticketing and towing policies among campus.  If people feel that they are receiving multiple tickets for one period of being parked in the same spot or are ticketed enough that they will be towed, they might view the policies as unfair.  If most students view these policies as unfair then they are going to be dissatisfied with parking and start looking for a new possibility for parking.

Question 15 was used to demonstrate overall how students felt about the parking situation.  Just because students received tickets or couldn’t find a place to park does not mean that they are unsatisfied with parking.  This question had very clear wording that would help us understand how students felt about parking.  It was also a good way to lead into our next series of questions which dealt with possible solutions to implement new policies.  This question concluded the part of our survey where we asked about students’ opinions about the current parking situation.

Questions 16 through 19 are all realistic possibilities for future solutions.  Members of our group brainstormed solutions and asked our friends as well as other students in our classes about parking on campus and came up with four possible solutions.  There has been a lot of conversation about charging parking fees to students’ credit card or U-bill instead of only having the coin operated meters. University officials believe this will be the norm for all meters within a couple of years.  Since most students used meter parking according to our results, we thought that this solution is not only highly probable to be implemented but it is also a popular solution among students.  Another possibility we thought of was having a pre-paid student only parking facility.  This solution would have worked well to ensure that students would always have a spot to park and therefore not waste time looking for one and being late to class.  We wanted to rate the students’ interests in these solutions and see if they thought that they could be effective, convenient, and help their own parking problems.

Question 20 was the only open ended question that we had throughout our survey.  This let our respondents brainstorm their own solutions to the parking problem.  It’s good to conclude our survey with an open-ended question because it gave students the freedom to express their opinions and feelings about parking solutions more in-depth and in their own words.  We hoped to find some new and interesting solutions from students’ responses.

Overall we think our survey was highly successful.  It was focused to a specific area, downtown and classes, which all University of Iowa students could recognize and identify with.    We used different types of questions including open ended, close ended and rating scales that helped us determined how significant this problem was to the students.  It was short enough where no student would get bored or side tracked while taking it yet long enough to help us prove our hypotheses.

Sampling and Survey Administration

For our parking survey, we utilized the WebSurveyor to distribute and analyze our survey.  The sampling method we used was systematic random sampling.  This means we started with a randomly drawn starting point and from there selected every nth element to participate in the sample.  Systematic random sampling is a form of probability sampling.  Probability sampling is when the participants are chosen according to mathematical guidelines whereby each unit’s chance for selection is known so the sampling error can be calculated when the survey has been completed.

There are several advantages associated with utilizing systematic random sampling.  The first one is that selection was very easy; also, this type of survey tends to be more accurate than simple random sampling.  Finally, this method was inexpensive.  However, there was also a disadvantage that came with using systematic random sampling.  This disadvantage was that it was more difficult to find a comprehensive sampling frame at first.

Our total sampling frame consisted of 30,000 University of Iowa undergraduates.  We acquired a list of names within the University of Iowa “Hawkmail” list of contacts.  This list included contact information for all people associated with the university, including professors, graduate students, university programs and undergraduate students.  From that list, we had to systematically go through and select only the undergraduate students.  Within the sampling frame, our sample contained 1,100 subjects that were all undergraduate students at the University of Iowa.  For our purposes, we started on element number five (5) and selected every 27th name from our sampling frame.  All of this information was needed in order for us to accurately calculate the sampling interval.

The formula for the sampling interval is I = N/n, where “I” is the sampling interval, “N” is the total number of elements in the sampling frame and “n” is the number of participants in the actual sample itself.  Therefore, our sampling interval was calculated in the following manner: I = 30,000 / 1,100 = 27.3.  Our sampling interval was 27.3, which proves that we systematically selected every 27th name on our list.

After our sample had been compiled through systematic random sampling, we uploaded the questions separately onto WebSurveyor.  WebSurveyor is an online database that is used to create polls and/or surveys, and it’s available to members of the University of Iowa if you acquire an account through Information Technology Services (ITS).  Once we received a username and password, we were able to manipulate WebSurveyor for our purposes.  We uploaded an existing Microsoft Excel document that contained our sample of 1,100 units.

After the sample had been successfully uploaded, we wrote a short introductory paragraph.  In this paragraph we explained what the survey was about and how the subject had been randomly selected.  We also explained that the survey would not take very long and would be very beneficial for our study.  We did this to maximize the number of survey responses we would get.  We then sent out the survey to the units through their university email addresses.  We chose one of our group member’s email addresses to use as the sender for our survey.

We originally thought that we would have to send out three different “waves” of our survey.  Waves are the number of times a survey is sent out to the same sample.  Fortunately, we only had to send out one wave.  In our first wave, we received 307 responses – a number much higher than the required 200 responses.  The last response we received before stopping the survey was on April 22, 2010 at 5:30 PM.  Obviously, our great success rate shows that our feedback was very high.

Data Analysis

Overall we believe our survey was highly successful.  It was focused to a specific area, downtown and classes, which all University of Iowa students could recognize and identify with. We used different types of questions including open ended, close ended and rating scales that helped us determined how significant this problem was to the students.

Out of the 301 respondents we received, 123 were male and 178 were female.  Therefore, 40.9% of the respondents were male and 59.1% of the respondents were female, giving us a well balanced ratio of male to female.  As you can see by our graph, we also had a fairly equal representation of year in school, with 29.2% seniors, 29.2% juniors, 23.9% sophomores, and 17.6% freshmen.  As a result, we believe our survey accurately portrays the student population at the University of Iowa.

81.4% of our respondents have a car at school, whereas only 18.9% did not have a car. Therefore, the results accurately portray the ideals of students who deal with parking at the University of Iowa on a daily basis.  According to our survey, the highest percentage of students (27.6%) drives their car at least 4-6 times per week while, 15.9% of students drive more than 10 times per week.  Only 14.3% of students drive their car less than once a week.  Since our survey tells us that 55.8% of students drive their car over 4 times per week, we are able to conclude that parking is a prevalent issue to be looked into at the University of Iowa.
Question number 6 gave us insight as to where students park their cars when they go to class.  We were interested to find that 81.3% of students park in parking spots that cost money, 16.8% park in city ramps, 31.9% park in university ramps, and 32.6% park in meters on the street.  The results from question 6 coincide with our next question, which was to rate your satisfaction with the availability of parking near your classes.

Our results indicate that over 70% of our respondents are unsatisfied with the parking availability near their classes, and 40.4% of the 70% indicated that they were highly unsatisfied.  Only 3.5% of students reported being satisfied with the parking availability.  Our group believes one of the reasons for the large percentage of unsatisfied students was that 81% of our survey respondents responded having been late to class due to the lack of parking on campus.
Although students are dissatisfied with the current parking options at the University of Iowa, 54% of our survey respondents believe that implementing credit card capability for parking options in the City of Iowa City and University of Iowa would improve the parking situation in Iowa City.  However, 20.6% believe that credit card capabilities would provide no improvement at all.  Similarly, 26.5% of respondents do not think that having the ability to U-Bill their parking fees would improve their opinion of the parking situation, and 43% believe it would.

In our first cross-tabulation test, we measured the significance between male and female satisfaction with on campus parking. Our data produced a p-value of 0.136, and therefore proves that there is no significant difference between male and female satisfaction with on campus parking. We know this because 0. 136 is greater than .05.

In our second cross tabulation test, we measured the significance between year in school and satisfaction with on campus parking. For this test, our data produced a p-value of .007, which is less than .05 and therefore proves that there is a significant relationship between the respondent’s year in school and his or her satisfaction with on campus parking. According to the cross tabulation chart the only generalization we are able to make about this relationship is that senior students at the University of Iowa are generally more satisfied with on campus parking. This conclusion can be made due to the fact that the Expected count was 5.8; however, the observed count was 12. The Adjusted Residual was 3.1, greater than two; therefore the generalization can be made.

The bolded cell below illustrates the observed count and expected count relationship.

Year in School Highly

Unsatisfied

Unsatisfied Neutral Satisfied Highly Satisfied
Freshmen

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

16

20.4

-1.4

17

17

.0

8

7.7

.1

1

3.5

-1.5

4

1.8

1.9

Sophomore

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

32

26.9

1.4

17

22.5

-1.6

15

10.2

1.9

3

4.6

-.9

2

2.3

-.2

Junior

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

36

34.2

.5

30

28.6

.4

12

13

-.3

4

5.9

-1.0

1

2.9

-1.4

Senior

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

31

33.8

-.7

31

33.8

-.7

9

12.8

-1.4

12

5.8

3.1

3

2.9

.1

In our third cross-tabulation test, we measured the significance between the respondent’s year in school and whether or not they have a car at school. Our data produced a p-value of .000, again, below .05, and therefore proves that there is a significant relationship between year in school and having a car. Based on our cross-tabulation chart, three generalizations about students at the University of Iowa can be made. First of all, freshmen are more likely to not have a car at school. Secondly, juniors are more likely to have a car at school, and thirdly, seniors are also more likely to have a car at school.  These conclusions can be made, because in all three cases the observed count is greater than the expected count and the adjusted residual is above two.

The bolded cells below illustrate the observed count and expected count relationship.

Year in School Owns a Car at school Does not own a car at school
Freshmen

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

29

9.8

7.5

24

43

-7.3

Sophomore

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

13

13

.0

57

56.8

.1

Junior

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

10

16.5

-2.1

79

72.2

2.2

Senior

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

4

16.3

-4.0

84

71.4

41.

In our fourth cross-tabulation test, we measured the significance between whether or not difficulty finding parking has made the respondent late for class, and the respondent’s satisfaction with parking on campus. Our data produced a p-value of .000 and therefore proves there is a significant relationship between the two. According to our cross-tabulation chart, the generalization can be made that respondents who have been late to class due to parking situations are more likely to be highly unsatisfied with parking on campus. This conclusion can be drawn because the observed count was 98 and the expected count was 89.9 for respondents who answered yes to the independent variable and highly unsatisfied for the dependent variable. Also, the adjusted residual was 2.3, which is greater than 2.

Has difficulty finding parking made you late for class? Highly

Unsatisfied

Unsatisfied Neutral Satisfied Highly Satisfied
No

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

17

21.1

-1.3

18

17.7

.1

7

8.0

-.4

4

3.6

.2

4

1.8

1.8

Yes

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

98

89.9

2.3

78

75.2

.8

36

34.1

.7

16

15.5

.3

6

7.7

-.3

Discussion and Conclusion

The results of this survey show that many undergraduate students are affected negatively by the parking situation on the University of Iowa campus and in downtown Iowa City.  According to the students who participated in this survey, the amount of money spent on having the ability to park, as well as parking tickets and other related fees seems highly unreasonable.

The lack of parking around campus is an unnecessary added stress to students who already have to deal with the high cost of the University of Iowa education and the expense of being an Iowa City resident. Not only is it a burden, but it could possibly contribute to tardiness to class, which could result in the decline of grades, or tardiness to those who work, which could result in penalty.

In hopes to improve the parking situation around campus, participants were asked to rate various future parking options on how effective of a solution they would be.  These future options include creating a pre-paid student-only ramp, being able to charge parking fees to the U-Bill parking, having credit card meters, and having credit card capability at university parking ramps/lots.  Overall, students were highly in favor of these future options and though that they would help to improve their satisfaction with parking.

From gaining the insight of the thoughts and opinions toward the University of Iowa parking situation from Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors, our group was not only able to confirm our hypotheses, but we were also able to hear the frustration from the University of Iowa student body.  As the surveyors, we hope that our findings and the opinions about future parking options expressed by students will influence the University of Iowa Parking and Transportation Department when making decisions about the future of parking.

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Allison Miller
Intro to Mass Comm

The students of the University of Iowa have expressed much annoyance over the topic of late-night. The feud between NBC, Jay Leno, and Conan O’Brien has been ongoing for months. It seems there is no end. Will this controversy hurt NBC’s ratings? There is much speculation that NBC could be hurting, due to the poor handling of this situation, once the late-night series is altered. This controversy is covered a lot in the media, which reaches out to a lot of students. What side are the students on? To decide if this topic was of much importance to them, we released a poll to approximately 1600 undergraduate students. 201 responses were received back.
According to the poll, 182 students were aware of the conflict and only 15 of them were unaware completely. This is interesting because of how much press this conflict received. It is important to realize that not every person watches the news or cares about public issues, especially ones that are minor in the world.
It looks like bad news for NBC, 54.5% of the students polled believed NBC’s ratings would be affected negatively. Only a miniscule 12.1% thought there would be a positive effect, leaving 32.8% to having no effect, and .5% to another category. One student’s suggestion for improving these ratings, “I would have gone back in time and not given Jay Leno a prime time talk show on the network; since time travel is not currently a viable option, I would have honored Conan O’Brien’s contract to be host of The Tonight Show and let Leno leave the network.” This would be a great option; however, we cannot turn back a clock. On another hand, another student states that the spot should be given “to the host with the best ratings.”
120 people polled believed Leno’s ratings would be hurt once NBC made the switch back because he had been gone for so long and people were angry with him. Many cannot wait for his return to his original time slot just to see if these stats hold true. Conan’s ratings are thought to skyrocket when he finds a new show to host. A whopping 134 polled thought Conan would not get bad ratings. We hope to see how this plays out.
Seeing as the students decided that Conan’s ratings were not going to decrease and Leno’s were thought to increase, I would have to come to the conclusion that Conan is the most favorable. Although the poll states that 97 people believe Jay Leno was favored, 87 for Conan still linger right behind. These were based solely on the publicity and the rewarded time slot to Jay Leno. Clearly, this is a huge controversy and a lot of University of Iowa students showed a lot of support through polling. Hopefully, NBC can get their stuff together so they do not lose so much money next time.

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Jordan Taylor
Poll Story

University of Iowa Dissatisfaction with Parking

A recent study conducted at The University Of Iowa by a group of undergraduate students reveled the dissatisfaction with parking policies both on campus and downtown Iowa City.

For the survey, the response rate was 27.3% and the sampling error was 2.6%. So out of the 301 undergrad students that participated in the survey, it showed that 70% of them were unsatisfied with the parking situation here on campus and downtown. There was only a small percentage of 3.5% of students who actually claimed to be satisfied with the parking.

The students that conducted the survey thought that the freshman would not be as affected by the parking situation or would not have as much experience with it because they do not have cars and they have a bus system that picks them up and drops them off.

Also, in the survey students who received multiple tickets were found to be more unsatisfied then other who did not, and students who have had other problems like being late to class were more unsatisfied with the parking situations then the students who have not had those problems.

Possible solutions to these problems would be to add many more spots around campus or turn a parking ramp into a student only parking ramp where it is prepaid. Other solutions are to use u-bill/debit card meters so that the meters actually get paid.

This is an important thing for the students at the University, and the Administration/city should really look into trying to fix this problem and implement some of these solutions ore there will be a lot of angry people in Iowa City.

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Ty Tannatt
Poll Story
May 6, 2010
College Students are on Conan’s Side.
In a recent poll done by students at the University of Iowa, it appears as though college kids prefer watching Conan O’brien’s Late Show almost twice as much as any other late night talk show including the man who took back his time slot Jay Leno. The study showed that 36.4% watched Conan, compared to 21.7% who watched Leno. The study also included David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, and a category for other late night entertainers. All three of the other late night categories were doubled up by the fans of Conan.
This is quite an interesting find considering NBC just awarded Jay Leno the Tonight Show, after his prime time show wasn’t up to par. Conan was forced to decide whether to take his old show back (Late Night with Conan O’brien) or move on with his career. He did the latter and is now going to be appearing on a late night show on the cable network TBS where he will have a younger crowd to support him.
Another major finding in the poll concluded that 44% believe the situation favored Conan O’brien. So it seems as though people believe his Late Show wasn’t the best and something new is what is best for him.
At the same time 48.5% believe the situation favored Jay Leno. This makes a lot of sense because when Leno was on the Late Show his was number 1 in ratings for many years. It appears as though college students believe he is at his best while on the Late Show.
Students also suggested that they believed the majority of the public would like to see Conan O’brien on the Late Show and believed that NBC’s ratings will be negatively affected. College students appear to be behind Conan on the Late Night Show controversy. They will get their wish in November when his new show will start on TBS.

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Kelly O’Neill
May 6, 2010
UI Students Unhappy with Parking, Survey Shows

A recent poll conducted by 10 University of Iowa journalism students revealed that over 70 per cent of the Iowa undergraduate community is unsatisfied with on-campus parking.
Over 300 students filled out a survey that was designed to analyze the satisfaction rate with the parking situation in downtown Iowa City. While it appears that freshmen are less affected by this issue because fewer freshmen have a car, the upperclassmen deemed it a very significant topic. The survey showed that 81 per cent of the respondents have a car here at school.
There was a significant relationship between how satisfied students are with on-campus parking and whether or not they had ever been late to class due to not being able to find a parking spot. This is appropriate in the sense that a student who has been late to class after searching for a parking spot would be much less satisfied than a student who has never been late to class for that same reason would be.
The survey showed that only 3.5 per cent of students are currently satisfied with parking at the University of Iowa. Because of this, the survey also asked students about other forms of parking to try to improve the situation.
Some of these new alternatives included having a pre-paid student ramp, installing meters with credit card capability, or being able to charge meter fees to students’ U-bills. These measures among others are being looked at by the university parking officials.
This survey had an overall response rate of 27 per cent and a sampling error of +/- six per cent.

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Ben Schuff
Dr. Yao
May 6, 2010
Poll Story

A recent survey shows that undergraduate students at the University of Iowa view health benefits as one of the major advantages of a campus wide smoking ban that went into effect in July of 2008.
The survey, comprised of 210 undergraduate student responses, was conducted from April 2nd through May 2nd by a group of nine University of Iowa students.
The survey showed that 70.3 percent of respondents “strongly agree” with the statement, “overall, people at the University of Iowa benefit from the smoking ban in regards to their health.”
Other benefits of the smoking ban that respondents wrote in on the survey included “an overall cleaner campus and better environment” and “not having to deal with the smell of smoke.”
Furthermore, 68.8 percent of respondents “strongly agree” with the smoking ban, while 10.4 percent “strongly disagree.”
The campus wide ban on smoking prohibits anyone from smoking in any university owned buildings or on university grounds. The ban was part of a larger statewide ban on smoking, the Smoke-Free Air Act. That Act was signed into law by Gov. Chet Culver on April 15th, 2008.
Controversial in nature, the survey found that 41.1 percent of respondents “strongly agree” that the smoking ban on the Iowa campus is fair to smokers. In addition, 24.3 percent “agree” agree that the ban is fair to smokers, 10.9 percent “disagree” that the ban is fair to smokers, and 13.9 percent “strongly disagree” that the ban is fair to smokers.
A further look shows that of the 24 respondents (11.4 percent) who said they smoked cigarettes, 11 marked on their surveys that they “disagree” or “strongly disagree” with the smoking ban on campus.
Of the same 24 respondents who admitted to smoking, 14 marked on the survey that they “disagree” or “strongly disagree” with the statement, “the smoking ban is fair to smokers.”
The survey had a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percent.

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By Sarah Claypool
IOWA CITY, May 5 – A recent poll found that a substantial majority of University of Iowa students are unwilling to appear on MTV reality shows and believe that going on a MTV reality show would negatively impact future job prospects.
The poll, which surveyed 200 University of Iowa students through e-mail, was conducted in the month of April by students in Dr. Qingjiang Yao’s Mass Media and Public Opinion class. The poll had a sampling error of 5.4%.
The remarkable popularity of MTV reality shows like “Jersey Shore” and “The Real World” inspired the students to investigate Iowa student’s opinions of the consequences of appearing on such shows.
Only 36.7% of students said they would be willing to appear on a MTV reality show. 80.4% thought that going on a show would negatively affect their future job prospects.
Interestingly, the poll found gender differences in willingness to appear on a show and the perceived impact. Males were more likely to respond that they would be willing to go on a MTV reality show and were less likely to think that it would have a negative impact on job prospects.
The unwillingness to appear on MTV reality shows and the opinion that doing so would harm the chances of getting a job is likely influenced by students’ perception of the portrayal of MTV show participants. 68.8% of UI students thought that MTV reality show participants are portrayed negatively.
One respondent of the poll commented, “I wouldn’t go on one of those shows because you are being portrayed negatively to the nation.” Another thought that “employers could easily get an opinion about you just if they heard you were on a MTV reality TV show.”
The results of the poll suggest that University of Iowa students consider the future consequences of appearing on a MTV reality show and most have concluded that going on such a show would be damaging to their career prospects.

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