UNH no longer top party school
Published: Thursday, September 17, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
With the fall semester in full swing, UNH finds itself absent from the Princeton Review's "Top Party Schools" list for the first time in four years, though both students and law enforcement officials agree there has been no substantial change in the university's inherent party culture.
"People are under the impression that this is a party school before they even come here," said Harrison Kisiel, a junior and an RA in SERC. "It spreads through word of mouth."
While UNH no longer holds any official standing amongst other colleges and universities known for rampant partying such as Penn State, the University of Florida and the University of Mississippi, which hold the top three spots on the list, the rowdy social atmosphere on the campus remains.
In 2008, UNH ranked at no. 11, while in 2007 it reached no. 7, its highest position on the list to date.
Over the past several years, the university administration has moved to make the rules regarding student conduct in dorms significantly more strict, including a policy of evicting students for their first offense involving the possession of illegal drugs and/or alcohol.
"Res Life is buckling down," said Paul Cunningham, who is also an RA in SERC. "It's easier to get kicked out of dorms than it used to be."
Much of the social activity at the university takes place off campus at houses, apartments and fraternities, which are usually seen as a safer place to hold gatherings because the university has no direct involvement in private, off campus residences. Just because students are off campus, however, does not mean that the law is any less diligent.
"I feel like they live here," said Dan Conley, a junior who has an apartment on Madbury Road, when asked about the frequency of law enforcement intervention so far this semester.
In addition to the Durham and UNH police, many landlords hire private security to help keep tenants from getting out of control. While private security personnel do not have any law enforcement powers, they can report continuously troublesome tenants and lease violations to the landlord who may then choose to take separate action.
Requests for comment from Varsity Place, one of the largest realtors of student housing in Durham, were not returned.
UNH police reported 31 arrests over the past weekend, which, for many students, begins on Thursday night, regardless of whether or not they have classes scheduled on Friday. All but one of the arrests was alcohol or drug related. Deputy Police Chief Paul Dean confirmed that so far there has been no significant change in police responses to partying-related calls this year.
In a post on August 31st, the semi-anonymous blog UNH Hi-Lites, whose mission statement includes chronicling the "lighter, higher side of life at UNH," dismissed the Princeton Review ranking as being unscientific and based on anecdotal evidence, stating and that it should "in no way be taken seriously." The post goes on to encourage students to do their best to get UNH back to its rightful place near the top of the list.
As with any unscientific poll, the research conducted by the Princeton Review does more to shape a school's overall reputation than it does to depict quantifiable statistics. The survey relies almost entirely on a random sample of student opinions regarding various aspects of their school, which are then compared to the results from other schools around the country.
A search of UNH's other Princeton Review rankings showed that, despite being knocked off list of the wildest and drunkest schools in the country, UNH still holds the no. 2 spot, under Penn State, for most beer consumption. UNH also ranks at no. 3 for "Little Race/Class Interaction," while at the same time being listed as one of the "Best Northeastern Colleges and Universities."