Are you generally happy?
A majority of poll respondents indicated that, as a whole, they are generally happy — 25% indicated that they are very happy and 56% indicated that they are somewhat happy. Fewer than 10% of respondents indicated that they were either somewhat or very unhappy.
Cross-tabulating our findings revealed notable insights about our student population and what groups report greater levels of happiness.
Those who responded they were very concerned with COVID reported higher levels of happiness.
And 87% and 88% of those in long-term relationships and casual relationships, respectively, reported feeling either very happy or somewhat happy, compared to 76% of respondents hooking up with multiple people and 73% of respondents who are single and not looking for anything. Notably, 37% of respondents hooking up with multiple people responded feeling generally “very happy,” the highest percentage of that response.
Happiness was largely level across concentration level, though those studying social sciences reported slightly greater levels of happiness than those studying physical sciences.
The class of 2026 reported greater levels of happiness overall, though the class of 2023 reported the greatest level of feeling “very happy” at almost 30%.
Those who identified as Hispanic reported feeling generally happier than other racial groups — 73% compared to 64% of white respondents, 67% of Asian respondents and 66% of Black respondents.
Just above 90% of those who had a parent go to Brown reported feeling either very or somewhat happy, compared to about 80% of those who did not have legacy status.
Roughly half of respondents overall indicated they don’t want Brown to reduce grade inflation, while a quarter indicated that they were neutral about the issue. Only 17% of respondents indicated that they “somewhat” or “strongly” agree that the University should take action to reduce grade inflation.
The Herald reported in the spring that grade inflation at Brown has continued to rise in recent semesters, which has sparked discourse on the role of grades and Brown’s reputation for grade inflation on campus. Members of the class of 2023 were most likely to agree with the statement, followed by the classes of 2024, 2025 and 2026, in that order.
Legacy students were slightly more likely to agree with the statement than non-legacy students.
Counseling and Psychological Services
Around 70% of students said that they have not tried making a CAPS appointment this semester. Of the 30% that did, about half weren’t able to schedule an appointment within a week. Upperclassmen were more likely to try making a CAPS appointment — members of the class of 2023 were most likely to have made one, followed by members of the classes of 2024, 2025 and 2026.
Respondents who intend to concentrate in the area of humanities or the arts were most likely to have requested a CAPS appointment compared to other areas of study.
Fifteen percent of those who identify as Hispanic reported wanting to make a CAPS appointment but were unable to, compared to around 8% for other racial groups.
Roughly one-third of respondents indicated ever having had a fake ID, while about two-thirds indicated never having had one.
Members of the class of 2026 were by far the least likely to have ever had a fake ID: Fewer than one-fifth indicated ever having had one. Otherwise, fake ID ownership was largely consistent across the classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Concentrators in the physical sciences, including math and computer science, were the least likely to have owned a fake ID across areas of studies. Only 26% of physical science students indicated they had owned a fake ID, compared to more than 30% in every other concentration area.
Christina Paxson Approval Rating
A majority of respondents — 53% — did not have positive or negative feelings about how President Christina Paxson P’19 is handling her role at the University. About a fifth of poll respondents expressed either approval or disapproval. These results showed a substantial shift from the spring, when about 45% of respondents expressed disapproval, roughly one-third expressed approval and only 22% expressed having no opinion.
Students in the classes of 2025 and 2026 were the most neutral: 57% of the class of 2025 and 66% of the class of 2026 expressed neither approval nor disapproval.
White respondents were more likely to report approval of Brown's president at 23%. Those who identify as Hispanic had the least favorable opinion of Paxson.
Paxson celebrated her 10th anniversary as University president in the spring, citing greater support and access for a diverse student body as one of her proudest achievements. During her tenure, the University has expanded financial aid offerings, becoming tuition-free for families earning under $125,000.
As UCS faces constitutional controversy and a petition for a presidential recall, a plurality of students — 43% — said they were unsure if they have benefited from a UCS program or service. Just under a third of respondents said they have not benefited from a UCS program or service, while just under a quarter said they have. Upperclassmen were more likely to report having benefited from a UCS program or service.
Those who identified as Hispanic were more likely to have reported benefitting from UCS at 32%, compared to between 22% and 24% for other racial identies. White respondents reported benefitting less from UCS.
Upperclassmen were more likely to report having benefited from a UCS program or service.
Midterm Election voting
Rhode Island’s midterms have received widespread attention, especially for Republicans hoping to take back the House of Representatives — former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and current state Treasurer Seth Magaziner ’06 are vying for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District. Close to three-fourths of respondents are planning to vote in the November election — 60% are voting in a state other than Rhode Island, 8% are non-Rhode Island residents voting in Rhode Island and 5% are Rhode Island residents voting in Rhode Island.
Respondents who intend to concentrate in the physical sciences were slightly less likely to indicate that they are planning to vote, but the likelihood of voting did not change significantly across other concentrations. The Herald recently chronicled plans to vote among Brown students.
Nearly two-thirds of students said they have not attended a protest in their time at Brown, while about a fifth of respondents each have either attended a protest on campus or in Providence.
Physical science concentrators were the least likely to have attended a protest.
Students who are registered to vote were significantly more likely to have attended a protest than students who are not registered.
Students who expressed high levels of COVID-19 concern were most likely to have attended a protest, while students who are not concerned about COVID-19 were least likely to have attended a protest. Students and organizations, including Sunrise Movement Brown and the Graduate Labor Organization, have recently organized campaigns against recruitment by fossil fuel companies and the removal of grad students from their programs, respectively.
Relationship status was fairly split amongst poll respondents. One-quarter of students reported being in a long-term relationship, while a slight majority of students are single. Among single students, around two-fifths are looking for a relationship, one-fifth are looking for something casual and the remaining two-fifths aren’t looking for anything.
Relationship status was relatively stable across concentrations. Students in higher grade levels were more likely to be in a long-term relationship or be hooking up with multiple people, while members of the class of 2026 were most likely to be single and not looking for anything.
Relationship status did not significantly differ by concentration, with about a quarter of respondents studying humanities, social sciences, life science or physical sciences being in a relationship.
Though the Open Curriculum encourages exploration, just 7% of students who have been in a relationship reported having cheated on a significant other — significantly lower than the 17% of students who have been in a relationship who said they have been cheated on. Male respondents more often indicated that they have cheated on a partner.
A significant majority of respondents — 70% — indicated that they have been in a relationship based on responses to Question 9 (“Have you ever cheated on/been cheated on by your significant other?”). Older students were generally more likely to have been in a relationship. Whether or not a respondent had been in a relationship did not vary significantly across concentrations.
More than two and a half years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of poll respondents expressed limited concern about the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Over two-thirds of respondents — 68% — expressed that they were “not” or “slightly” concerned about the spread of COVID-19 on campus, while fewer than 7% of respondents indicated that they are “very” or “extremely” concerned. Students are slightly less concerned about COVID-19 now than they were in The Herald’s spring 2022 poll.
Last spring, 61% of respondents indicated that they were “not” or “slightly” concerned about the spread of COVID-19, and just over 10% indicated being “very” or “extremely” concerned. While testing and masking remain optional for members of the Brown community, students — particularly first-years — have experienced difficulties with a lack of isolation housing and limited access to masks and test kits. The University has held bivalent COVID-19 booster clinics this month.