Freshmen beliefs reflect society

By Wendy Arquilla

The beliefs of NIU freshmen reflect what is going on in our society today and according to the Cooperative Institutional Research survey, freshmen have very strong beliefs.

The vast majority of freshmen, 74 percent, believe abortion should be a legal option for women. “Abortion should be legal. The issue is not clear-cut; there are no ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to the issue,” said Christy Nolan, a freshman physical therapy major.

On the other hand, few freshmen believe that marijuana should be legalized. Only 21 percent felt the drug should be legal, compared with the 29 percent who responded on that side of the coin in the 1982 freshman survey.

“Legalization of marijuana could have a good and bad effect. People agreeing with legalization should look at both sides of the issue. But, it should be used for medical purposes if it really helps the patient,” said freshman business major Julie Bezanes.

Almost 90 percent of those surveyed believe the government should do more to control guns. “I believe there should be more control on gun purchases. Guns and ammunition are too available. A waiting period is a good idea since many people will buy guns in the heat of the moment,” said freshman business major Brooke Hartman.

However, not all freshmen interviewed agree. “Gun control should be something that the government should stay out of, said freshman history major Carl Vallianatos. “I like the availability we have to guns.”

Freshmen men and women had the biggest disagreement over the statment, “Sex is okay if people like each other.”

Not surprisingly, freshmen men tended to agree with the statement—67 percent responding positively. However, only 34 percent of freshmen women agreed with the statement.

“There’s more to sex than people just liking each other,” Bezanes said.

“I think sex is okay if people like each other. You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive first,” Vallianatos said.

The influence of the Clinton era apparently was reflected in the survey. In the 1982 freshmen survey, 60 percent of respondents believed we needed a national health care plan. In the recent survey, 82 percent of freshmen felt we need a stronger health care plan.

Recent issues in today’s news also showed up in their answers. Thirty percent of freshmen believed homosexual relations should be prohibited.

One student said he felt that what homosexuals do in private was their business, but he doesn’t want to be confronted with the issue. “They have a right to be with whoever they want to be with, but they shouldn’t push their sexual preferences or beliefs on the rest of us,” Hartman said.

As for the debate over gays in the military, many of the freshmen interviewed felt they can do their job as long as they aren’t flamboyant about their homosexuality or try to engage in sexual relations with straight military servicemen and women.