Project uncovers student perspectives on war

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, 88.9 percent of the full-time Northern Kentucky University students have paid more attention to the news media.

This was just one of the many results NKU students in a journalism advanced reporting course found when they surveyed 270 full-time students concerning their reactions to recent terrorism related events.

When students were asked if Americans should be willing to give up some of their freedoms for the sake of getting greater security against terrorists, 65 percent of them responded “yes.”

Responses to questions about wiretapping phones used by suspected terrorists and detaining suspected terrorists produced rather different results. Of those surveyed, 55 percent felt that law enforcement agencies should be allowed to wiretap phones used by suspected terrorists without getting a court order first.

On the other hand, 54 percent of respondents said that law enforcement officials should not be allowed to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely without charging them with a crime. Of those who felt law enforcement officials should be allowed, 46 percent of them were men.

Students were also asked questions about U.S. military presence and activity in Afghanistan. Overall, 84 percent of students felt the United States was justified for engaging in military activity in Afghanistan. By political party, the Democrats, 95 percent, compared to 87 percent of Republicans, agreed with the U.S. military activity in Afghanistan.

Over half surveyed, 61 percent, felt that even after the current military activity in Afghanistan ceased, the United States should have a presence in Afghanistan.

Right after the attacks of Sept. 11, many questioned whether the military draft would be reinstated. The overwhelming majority of students responding, 73 percent, said that the military draft should not be reinstated.

Currently men ages 18 to 26 are eligible to be drafted if it were reinstated. The survey posed the question, “If the draft were reinstated, and both men and women were included, would you willingly go to Afghanistan if you were drafted?”

Of the 270 surveyed, 45 percent said that they would willingly go if drafted. Of those that said yes, only 15 percent of them were females. Age also was a factor in this question with 47 percent of those 18 to 24 in age said that they would willingly go compared to 37 percent of those 25 years and older.

This was a telephone survey of a random sample of full-time students at NKU conducted Nov. 12 to Nov. 19 by members of journalism professor, Dr. Brad Scharlott’s advanced reporting class.