OHIO UNIVERSITY School gets No. 2 listing for parties

The author of the list said prospective students can use it as a research tool.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Local students who attend Ohio University in Athens expressed mixed reactions to their school's being named No. 2 on a list of the nation's top party schools released Monday by the Princeton Review.
The list is released annually by the Princeton Review, a private company not affiliated with Princeton University.
The Review provides college information, test strategies and other resources for students.
OU, the only Ohio school listed in the top 20 party schools for 2005, had dropped lower on the list during the past few years.
OU junior Kyle Henchar, a graduate of Canfield High School, said he enjoys the party scene with his fraternity brothers and thinks the university fully deserves its ranking.
"Anywhere you go, there's a party pretty much any night of the week," he said.
Centrally located
Much of the students' drinking takes place on Court Street, the main drag for bars in town.
Graduate student Will Miller, who attended Austintown Fitch High School, said the centrality of those bars draws attention to students' drinking.
"The biggest thing that makes it easy to rank OU high is that everything is centralized," he said.
"People are going to pick up on what they want."
Miller, a nondrinker, said he thinks people don't notice the same kind of partying at other schools, such as Ohio State University in Columbus, because the bars and parties are less concentrated.
"It definitely puts a stigma on us," he said.
Miller said this year's ranking isn't realistic because the Halloween 2004 parties, which often are used to symbolize the school's reputation for drinking, were the most mild he has seen there.
Though junior Andrew Laboy admits the Halloween parties were mild, the Boardman resident said partying on other weekends is heavier than at other schools.
But he said he was uncertain about the ranking because it also overshadows the strong academic reputation the university maintains, he said.
OU Dean of Students Terrence Hogan, who called the rankings "dubious," said the school will "see some redoubling of our efforts to try to address this" and encourage academic success.
What goes into process
The rankings are based on survey responses regarding alcohol and drug use, hours of study each day and the number of students in fraternities and sororities.
The list is based on online surveys of more than 110,000 college students.
Hogan said he also questions the rankings because OU students were not surveyed this year.
Schools often criticize the list, while the American Medical Association has urged Princeton Review to stop putting it out, claiming it legitimizes students' drinking.
Robert Franek, who authored the report, said students are looking for more than just a classroom experience when they pick a college.
"The mission is very simple -- to provide information to make the college search palatable for a student and all of them to find a school that's the best fit for them," he said.

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