Last modified: Monday, August 19, 2002
NOTE: Indiana University President Myles Brand and Indiana University Bloomington Chancellor Sharon Stephens Brehm have written the following letter to the Princeton Review in response to the publication's ranking, released today, of Indiana University Bloomington as the nation's leading "party school."
August 19, 2002
John Katzman, Chairman & CEO, The Princeton Review
Dear Mr. Katzman:
We at Indiana University are profoundly disturbed by the tactics associated with your organization's just-released college rankings survey, in which Indiana University Bloomington is named the top "Party School."
We take great exception to the criteria associated with that category, which only serves to trivialize a very serious issue. In fact, we join with the American Medical Association in its recent call to your company to stop publishing such an annual ranking because it ignores the risk of heavy drinking and promotes a distorted view of college life.
Frankly, if any student bases his/her decision about Indiana University Bloomington on alcohol availability, that student will be sadly disappointed. We have never been more aggressive in enforcing our university's strict alcohol policies. We have enhanced staffing in residence halls, increased the number of student disciplinary actions, and suspended and expelled some fraternities. In this context, it is patently absurd for IU Bloomington to be ranked number one when we were not even ranked last year.
To be sure, Indiana University Bloomington has always been a vibrant and socially dynamic campus, but not because of alcohol. Time magazine named Indiana University Bloomington as College of the Year among research institutions because of the wide range of experiences available to our undergraduate students, including internationally renowned arts and cultural offerings, the diversity of our student body, successful NCAA Division I athletic programs, the engagement of our faculty and the beauty of our campus.
While some students may judge a campus social life in terms of alcohol use, we are confident that that is the judgment of a small minority. The National Survey of Student Engagement, a scholarly and widely respected body of research, presents a far more accurate picture of our students and their interests. Indeed, that study recognizes IU students for their scholarship and industriousness as they pursue a well-rounded education at one of our nation's premier universities.
We began receiving inquiries late last week from media outlets that had been provided embargoed copies of the report. Much of what we learned about the report came from media sources, since the Princeton Review chose not to extend any advance notice to IU. Clearly, the Princeton Review had not intended to work in good faith with our institution on this matter, but rather to create as much media attention as possible to heighten sales.
Alcohol abuse on campus is an important issue. Indiana University, similar to universities nationwide, is mounting a serious and concerted effort to deal with the problem. We are interested in results. It is unfortunate that the Princeton Review seems most interested in grabbing headlines.
President, Indiana University
Sharon Stephens Brehm
Chancellor, Indiana University Bloomington