The University of Vermont has tried hard to downplay its “groovy UV,” party school reputation.
But once a year, when the media rankings that rate schools based on squishy qualities like “most beautiful campus” to “best value” and a host of other qualities, perception becomes reality: UVM regularly is at the head of the class when it comes to the quality of its partying.
This year Newsweek/The Daily Beast put UVM in the 11th slot for its “top party” school list, behind the University of New Hampshire, Ohio University and Pennsylvania State University, among others.
The editors of Newsweek/The Daily Beast mashed CollegeView “best-fit” statistics for students who want to attend a “big time party school” with the number of on-campus arrests and per-student disciplinary actions for drug and alcohol in 2010, based on U.S. Department of Education statistics.
UVM has 11,482 undergraduates. In 2010, the university reported 420 arrests, 474 on-campus disciplinary actions for drugs and 1,301 actions for alcohol.
Schools that were on last year’s Princeton Review party list got bonus points (UVM was ranked 19th).
The Princeton Review gave UVM the 19th slot again this year. The company (not to be confused with Princeton University) bases its ranking on a survey of 122,000 students about alcohol and drug use, hours of study each day, and the popularity of the Greek system.
Academically, UVM also consistently lands in the top 100 schools in the country, and last year was ranked 82nd in the 2011 U.S. News and World Report ratings.
Still the aura, or something, lingers … Princeton Review gave UVM the No. 3 spot for “reefer madness” last year.
It’s a distinction the UVM administration is none too happy about. Officials describe the Newsweek party school ranking as a “distorted.”
Enrique Corredera, a spokesman for UVM, says the university consistently places in the top 85 national universities and among the top 50 public institutions in America. Kiplinger’s regularly places UVM in the top 80 for “value” out of 500 public colleges and universities.
“The quality of our incoming students has risen steadily over the last decade. Based on SAT scores, entering students in last year’s and this year’s classes are the strongest in the university’s history,” Corredera said in a statement.
“Party school lists are, by definition, designed more to entertain than inform,” Corredera said. “In the case of the recent Newsweek list, which places great significance on the number of disciplinary actions at a school, UVM’s rank is distorted by the fact that we are far more aggressive than most in identifying student behavior that is in violation of drug and alcohol policies. The goal of our aggressive approach to enforcement — and related education and outreach efforts — is to create an environment that is safe for everyone and conducive to academic engagement and success.”
More rankings — from Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report — will be out this month.