Healthy, Secular, and Political

In an article with seems to corroborate Prof. Matt Lassiter’s thesis from his golden apple lecture – that in the late 1990s American youth have been decidedly political, actively challenging global neoliberal hegemony, American imperialism, and the cultural and human deritris of American corporate capitalism run amuck. According to University officials, this year’s U-M class expressed a strong interest in politics (45% – the highest percent since 1994, the year after the survey began), and a record high 35% reported participating in an organized political protest their senior year in high school:

“Keeping up with politics is a growing priority for entering University of Michigan freshmen, according to a national survey, but an all-time high are undecided about what they want for a career.

The percentage of U-M freshmen expressing political interest, nearly 45 percent, is the highest here since 1994, said Malinda Matney, a senior research associate in the university’s division of student affairs. […]

U-M’s reported level of political engagement far exceeded national levels, where the number of students who discussed politics on a frequent basis rose from 19.4 percent in 2002 to 22.5 percent. The U-M average also exceeded that of other selective public institutions such as North Carolina, UCLA and The State University of New York, which averaged 39.6 percent, Matney said. …

The national attention to U-M’s affirmative action case might have affected student perspectives on discrimination, Matney said, noting that the percentage of students who think racial discrimination is no longer a problem in America dropped from 20.3 percent to 16.8 percent.

Among the survey’s other U-M findings:

– This year’s entering class showed all-time highs in performing volunteer work (92.8 percent) and taking part in organized demonstrations (35.3 percent) during the senior year of high school. …

– Spirituality was down to an all-time low of 36 percent, falling from 41 percent in 2002. … “

> AANews: “So who cares about politics? Students do, U-M survey finds”

And this:

“All health indicators showed improvement. For instance, cigarette smoking decreased each year since 1997 (all-time high of 9.6 percent) to 2.2 percent in 2003, and self-reported “excellent” or “very good” emotional health was up to 61.2 percent in 2003, from 57.8 percent in 2002.”

> From UMPR: “Survey of U-M freshmen shows a marked increase in political interest”

Author: Rob