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Survey Calls BYU 'Stone-Cold Sober'

Survey Calls BYU 'Stone-Cold Sober'

Posted - Aug. 18, 2003 at 5:24 p.m.



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BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- The University of Colorado, where a six-year effort to curb binge drinking ended this spring without making a dent, is the nation's No. 1 party school.

According to the latest Princeton Review survey, the typical CU student smokes a lot of marijuana and drinks a lot of beer and hard liquor. They also doesn't study very often, the survey said.

Alexandra Kass, a 21-year-old CU student, said finding a party is as easy as driving around with the car windows open and listening for music blaring from a house.

Still, she said her study habits haven't suffered at a university that also rated three out of four stars for academics in the survey.

"If someone can't balance their social life and studying, then too bad for them," Kass said.

The latest Princeton Review's "Best 351 Colleges" is based on 70-question surveys completed by about 106,000 students at various campuses. The review, which is not related to Princeton University, has been conducting the surveys since 1992.

Brigham Young University was the top "stone-cold sober" school in the 2004 survey and Army's military academy at West Point, N.Y., was the hardest to get into.

The "party school" category is based on survey questions focusing on the amount of alcohol and drug consumption, the amount of time students spend -- or don't spend -- studying, and the popularity of fraternities and sororities. Last year, CU was No. 8 on the party list.

University officials questioned the latest report, saying it was based on objective factors and rankings. They noted the faculty includes Nobel Prize winners, and that numerous students have won awards.

"If they want to study hard and play hard, they will get a great degree, but if they come here just to play hard, they won't be here long," said Ron Stump, vice chancellor for student affairs. "(The university) provides a wonderful opportunity for education and a wonderful opportunity for off-campus social and recreational opportunities."

About 63 percent of students at the 28,000-student Boulder school binge drink, a rate well above the national average and up from recent years, according to Bob Maust, coordinator of the A Matter of Degree Program, which tried to reduce binge drinking at CU. A Harvard study showed about 44 percent of college students nationwide binge drink.

CU and the city in recent years have tried to limit some of the problems associated with partying.

In 2001, officials barred couches on front porches in the University Hill district after riots in which students set couches ablaze in the streets. Beer has been banned at CU football games since 1996.

Parties weren't hard to find Saturday night as students spilled out of houses and onto the sidewalks of University Hill. There was a steady stream of people visiting nearby taverns. Groups such as the American Medical Association have long criticized party school rankings. The AMA said the ranking legitimizes high-risk drinking and portrays alcohol as an essential part of student life.

Princeton Review is merely reporting on conditions at the schools, editorial director Robert Franek said.

In other party-school criteria, CU ranked third in widespread use of marijuana, fourth in the prevalence of hard liquor consumption and 11th in the prevalence of beer usage. The university ranked first among schools where students study the least.

The rest of the top 10 party schools were the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Indiana University, Bloomington; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.; University of Texas-Austin; The University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.; DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.; and Saint Bonaventure University, Olean, N.Y.

Some of the rankings from the Princeton Review's 2004 edition of "The Best 351 Colleges," based on surveys of about 106,000 students:

--Best professors: Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt.

--Toughest college to get into: U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.

--Students most satisfied with financial aid: Knox College, Galesburg, Ill.

--Most beautiful campus: University of California, Santa Cruz, Calif.

--Best campus dorms: Loyola College, Baltimore, Md.

--Best campus food: Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine.

--Top party school: University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.

--Top stone-cold sober school: Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

--Biggest fraternity and sorority scene: DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.

--Happiest students: DePaul University, Chicago.

--Most religious students: Brigham Young University.

--Friendliest campus race-class relations: McGill University, Montreal.

--Gay community most accepted: New York University, New York.

--Students lean most to the right politically: Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.

--Students lean most to the left politically: Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

--Students most supportive of college's sports teams: University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.

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