When the Princeton Review releases its annual list of America's best party schools, Pennsylvania State University is usually on it.
When the Princeton Review's most recent list is released next month, it will be interesting to see how the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse case and the alleged cover-up by Joe Paterno, shown here, and the school's administration have affected the students' party appetite.
Last year, Ohio University topped a list that also included the University of Georgia, University of Mississippi, and University of Iowa. (For the full list at the Best Colleges blog, click here.)
When the Princeton Review's most recent list is released next month, it will be interesting to see how the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse case and the alleged cover-up by Joe Paterno and the school's administration have affected the students' party appetite.
The same university administrators who facilitated a sexual predator were at the helm when Penn State was named the No. 1 party school in 2009, No. 3 in 2010, and No. 7 in 2011.
Even though Penn State was recently named the No. 2 party school of the past decade by the Best Colleges Online site, it will be a surprise to some if PSU manages to stay on the Princeton Review's annual list at all, much less coming in No. 7.
The Princeton Review assembled its list last year by polling more than 120,000 students across the country. The questions asked in the poll include the following:
"How widely used are beer, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs at your school?"
"How big is frat life at your school?"
"How many hours do you study each day?"
When Penn State was accorded the top honors among party schools in 2009, the popular public-radio program "This American Life" did a whole show in State College. Among other things, the show captured what it was like at fraternity parties. It also included interviews of police officers whose responsibility it was to try to curb the drinking culture. One of the most powerful moments came early in the hourlong program, when a student said she loved Penn State so much because "they handle everything the right way." (You can find the show here.)
Creator Ira Glass and producers of the show returned to Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky story erupted to find out how things had changed. Producer Sarah Koenig actually lived in State College and compared the impact of the child rapes and subsequent cover-up to 9/11. (That show is also available for streaming on "This American Life's" website.)
One State college resident interviewed during the second program attributed the willing ignorance that pervaded many of Joe Paterno's supporters to the football-centric mind-set of the whole town. The show was recorded shortly after the now-infamous student riot that took place after Paterno was given his walking papers.
The second program also reran a segment from the 2009 show that had Glass and Koenig walking around the town on a weekend night and seeing countless people vandalizing property. Koenig speculated that if the plants grew particularly well in one area of her yard, it was because students urinated in that spot.
All things considered, it will be interesting to see where Penn State ranks when the Princeton Review's new list is released next month.
Editor's Note: Please note this article has been changed since its original posting to correctly distinguish between the Princeton Review's list of best party schools that was released last year and its list of best party schools that will be released this year.
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