UVa’s new “distinction” is questionable

Katherine Johnson
Columnist

Playboy is now in the business of ranking college party scenes, and with assistance from Pabst Blue Ribbon the University of Virginia brought home the No. 1 spot this year.

The magazine judged the top 100 schools in the country, basing their ranking on sex, sports and nightlife. The Playboy article said that UVa ranked lowest in sports, “but more than made up for it in nightlife and sex, finishing number three and number two, respectively.”

In addition to being the No. 1 party school, UVa was also ranked the No. 1 public school in the country by Forbes Magazine this month.

Can these two distinctions coexist?

Although Playboy claims to have based their survey off “900 data points,” the exact process is questionable. It’s doubtful that Hugh Hefner or any of the Playboy staff have scoped out a college party.

While the rankings are based on a survey, it’d be interesting to know where they got this information. If it were based on UVa students’ responses strictly, the ranking would have more credibility.

As college students, we know each school’s reputation; schools like JMU or Radford are known for partying, UVa students are known for being studious and hardworking.

86.3 percent of UVa students graduate in four years. This number was based off of students that graduate in 2011, so it’s reasonable to assume partying can’t be interfering too much with their studies.

The university boasts several other awards, to which they dedicate a whole page on their website. Many of the schools and departments are ranked impressively, from undergraduate to Ph.D programs.

UVa’s top honor may come from U.S. News & World Report Rankings. The school has never fallen below number two in the listing for the top 50 public universities, and has stayed in the top 25 of all universities in the country.

Greek life is dominant on UVa’s campus, however, which could be a factor in their recent distinction. According to UVa’s Fraternity and Sorority Life website, 30 percent of their undergraduate students belong to a fraternal organization. This percentage is quite high when put into perspective with VCU’s 5 percent or less that are Greek.

UVa’s academic distinction and reputation speaks for itself. As long as this is upheld, school officials don’t have to worry about what’s happening outside of class, even if that does include partying.

UVa is in the best position possible, as they have nothing to prove or worry about. The only time the school would have to take action regarding their new title is if their reputation was no longer based off history, academics and prestige, but off alcohol, drugs and partying. Playboy’s ranking in no way tarnished UVa’s distinguished reputation in the minds of anyone. At most, it caused readers to stop and question it.

Whether Playboy’s ranking was accurate or not, UVa doesn’t have to worry about their reputation. If anything, they could draw in more students since they’re the No. 1 public school and now, party school.

It’s a win-win for UVa students.

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