Letter: A bad survey with a bad option

Unfortunately, what I warned of has happened: The Yale College Council has not learned from past mistakes and has sent out yet another flawed Spring Fling survey.

In its latest survey, the YCC asked students to select their preferred artist in each of 15 head-to-head matchups, comparing a total of nine artists. This, however, does not lend enough insight into students’ preferences. For example, if students prefer A over B, B over D, and C over D, which do students prefer among A and C? Among B and C? To compare all nine artists, a survey would need 36 head-to-head matchups or require students to rank the nine artists. Even this, however, would not necessarily be enough to maximize utility.

Aside from its failure in survey design, the YCC has made the odd decision to consider Akon even after dismissing him last year as an option for being “misogynistic.” For the YCC to change its criteria for considering artists seemingly arbitrarily (and without student-body input in both years), this reflects a YCC that is careless or, more damning, incompetent. While I hold out hope that this final survey may yield meaningful results, I fear that the YCC has already condemned this year’s Spring Fling to failure.

Michael Chao

March 5

The writer is a rising junior in Pierson College currently on a leave of absence.

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