Record surveys campus approval ratings

Jackson Hartigan


Last week, the Record sent its biannual approval ratings survey to 1000 randomly selected students, in which students were able to select “approve,” “disapprove” or “neutral” in response to a number of campus institutions and policies. The response rate on the survey was 34 percent, with a total of 342 responses, of whom 28 percent were first years, 25 percent were sophomores, 25 percent were juniors and 22 percent were seniors.

This semester’s approval ratings are compared to those from fall 2019, unless otherwise noted. Approval of College faculty (93 percent), President Maud S. Mandel (77 percent) and academic resources (70 percent) all increased by ten percent from the fall, which is a statistically significant difference. Williams College in general experienced the highest increase in approval at 86 percent, 15 percent higher than in fall 2019.


In light of recent events, the Record added some questions about the College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in this semester’s survey. Seventy-seven percent of respondents approved of the College’s overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while five percent disapproved, and 63 percent approved of the College’s process for determining whether to reopen in fall 2020, while 11 percent disapproved. 82 percent approved of the College’s decision to adopt mandatory pass/fail grading, while nine percent disapproved.

The Three Pillars was the least approved item from the survey, although at 21 percent approval, it experienced an 11 percent increase from the fall’s previous student government, College Council (CC). The Davis Center had the most dramatic negative change in approval rating since the fall, falling from 51 percent to 37 percent.

Overall, this semester’s approval ratings were broadly higher than in the fall, with five institutions improving their approval ratings by 10 percent or more.