Each year, the administrators at major universities look for one particular axe to fall. No, it's not necessarily further cuts from the legislature, or impaired fortunes of football teams (except perhaps in Alabama). No, it's worse: Each year Playboy magazine publishes its list of the Top Ten Party Schools. This year, the University of Virginia topped the list. Wouldn't Mr. Jefferson be proud?
As a further bit of information, the USAToday article contained this excerpt:
"Methodology? Playboy is succinct. "We took America's top 100 colleges and ranked them across 900 data points in three categories: Sex Life, Sporting LIfe, Nightlife.'"
In a breakdown by category, in what was surely a rigorous, peer-reviewed statistical undertaking, the University of North Carolina ranks No. 1 in Sex Life (Tar Heel women, Playboy says, are "plentiful," "beautiful" and "progressive." ( Worst: Colorado School of Mines.)
[Okay, there are a lot of us; and I'm willing to be described as "beautiful," as are most Tarheel women. But progressive? Is that Playboyese for easy?]
In the Sporting LIfe category, Ohio State tops the list. "In Columbus, top-notch tailgating is rivaled only by the games themselves." (Worst: Yeshiva University)
And in Night LIfe, Southern Methodist University is No. 1. "At SMU, Dallas is your never-ending house party." (Worst: Brigham Young.)
For the record, in recent times the University of Colorado and the University of Miami received this dubious honor. Among the criteria that Playboy used in 2009 was a "bikini index," not otherwise identified.
How do institutions react when this honor is bestowed? Typically, the faculty there will tut-tut, and grouse about the nonseriousness of the student body. The local newspapers will carry the story; and if it's a slow news cycle (like now) they will interview a few students who will embellish their stories. Some institutions might protest, or at least take some steps to clamp down on the ardent spirits (ethanol and youthful, both). Many schools might say or do nothing officially, figuring that if nothing is said, it will fast go the way of old news. (That is probably the most effective strategy, at the recent debacle at the University of Tennessee regarding butt-chugging illustrates. All of the participants managed to extend the news life of that story much longer than normal.)
But there is a still another way: Embrace the mantle of party school. After all, it could serve as a recruiting tool! I can see some relatively little-known university vaulting into prominence by being named a party school. And it's cheaper and more fun than having an outstanding faculty doing significant research or a powerhouse football team!
Florida Panhandle University, here's your chance!
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