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Poll Questions and Responses

One hundred and fifty-five RC students, constituting a representational mix of students (by gender and age: 67% male, 33% female; mean age of 27), responded to our poll.

Scenario 1.
You and your friends are going to an off-campus HBS dance sponsored by the Students Association. You board a bus at HBS to head to the event; en route, people begin to notice that the ride is taking longer than expected and the bus driver seems lost. You hear a group of students (whom you don’t know) get loud, taunting the bus driver with some angry comments. What do you do?

A. Ignore it. The students might be intoxicated and I’m worried they may lash out at me if I intervene. (16%)
B. Wait for someone else to act. If I see someone else intervene, I’ll support them in trying to get the students to quiet down. (30%)
C. Ask the students to stop. They are acting inappropriately and I don’t have any qualms about telling them so. (39%)
D. Something else. Explain. (14%; responses ranging from “I would help the driver find his way” to “My reaction would depend on whether confronting the students would endanger others on the bus” to “Get a group of my friends to approach the students” to “It’s not my responsibility to police the behavior, we are all adults.”

Scenario 2.
You and your friends are at a black-tie charity ball at the New England Aquarium, sponsored by an HBS club. You hear a lot of laughter and, turning around, you see that several students (whom you don’t know) have entered the penguin enclosure and are snapping photos of themselves in tuxes next to the penguins. What do you do?

A. Ignore it. It’s harmless and not my place to intervene. (28%)
B. Wait for someone else to act. If I see someone else intervene, I’ll support them if things get ugly. (15%)
C. Ask the students to get out of the enclosure. The penguins may become distressed by the intrusion into their space. (28%)
D. Call security. It’s not my place to intervene, but someone should. (22%)
E. Something else. Explain. (7%; responses ranging from “Laugh and join them for a photo” to “Get a group of my friends to approach the students” to “Tell them to get out, not because of possible harm to the penguins but because I care about HBS’s reputation”)

Scenario 3.
While in class at HBS, you notice a lot of note passing amongst some of your classmates. When a few of the notes come past your seat, you take a quick peek and read some lewd and sexually explicit messages. You also notice that the recipients of these notes (who include classmates and guests) looking upset when they receive the notes. What do you do?

A. Ignore it. The note writers and recipients are adults who can deal with this issue on their own. (24%)
B. Bring up the issue with section leadership, faculty, and/or administration. It’s not my place to intervene, but I feel that someone should. (40%)
C. Ask the note-writers to stop. I believe their behavior is inappropriate, and I don’t mind telling them so. (27%)
D. Something else. Explain. (9%; responses ranging from “Don’t jump to conclusions, but ask the receiver why/ whether they are upset” to “Just stop passing the notes or return them to the sender.”)

February 19, 2008
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