Princeton Review ranks QU second most apathetic school

By on September 19, 2006

At Quinnipiac University, well-known across the country for its politically geared polling institute, irony is prevalent in the fact that The Princeton Review has ranked the school second in the nation on its “Election? What election?” list.

The outcome of this list was determined by The Princeton Review, which later was published in its 2006-2007 edition of its annual “Best 361 Colleges” book.

“Schools make the book’s various ranking lists not based on what The Princeton Review thinks of them, but on what the schools’ students think of their schools,” said Jeanne Krier, publicist for Princeton Review Books.

The question that was asked to roughly 300 Quinnipiac students was “How popular are student political/activist groups on your campus?” A majority of the students’ answers speak volumes, which translate into the university’s No. 2 ranking.

Many students believe The Princeton Review’s ranking of Quinnipiac was justified.

“I agree with our ranking as number two. It’s accurate, especially from what I’ve seen of the involvement during campaign season,” said Stephanie Fallar, vice president of the QU Democrats. “Students here at Quinnipiac University are very apathetic about our election process. There are only a handful of students who want to make a difference and inform themselves about the campaigns each year.”

The presence of political groups such as the QU Democrats and the QU Republicans is a step in the right direction, according to Fallar.

“We encourage students to get involved in these organizations because they serve as an outlet for information on candidates, campaigns and offer ways to get involved,” Fallar said, adding that the task of spreading political awareness should not be the job of only the students.

“It would be beneficial to see the university and the professors advertise these outlets for students. If the other politicians campaigned on campus as well, I think we would see more student involvement,” she said.

Students such as Matt Dodge, a sophomore journalism major, think the university needs more politically active student groups in order to make any progress.

“Just having QU Democrat and Republican groups doesn’t mean the campus is politically aware. I’d like to see the campus more active,” Dodge said.

Not everyone in the Quinnipiac University community agrees with The Princeton Review’s ranking of the university. Scott McLean, chairman of the political science department, believes that the “Election? What election?” list is not an accurate reflection.

“This is a pretty significantly inaccurate list,” McLean said. “[The survey question] doesn’t really ask about their willingness to vote. They are asking the wrong question if they want to measure the amount of political and social engagement among students.”

McLean thinks that when students hear the word “activism” they think of “big, in-your-face protests,” something Quinnipiac University students do not see too often on campus.

Ana Dominguez, a senior occupational therapy major, believes that she falls under the false label that the review has labeled her and fellow classmates.

“I can’t say that this ranking is entirely true. From my experience at Quinnipiac, I feel that there are definitely students who are passionate about politics,” she said.

A point that McLean brought up is that while some students are not as interested in bipartisan politics as much as some would like, he believes that the students are “very engaged.” Whether it’s community service or activities on campus to raise money, he feels that students should be looked upon highly in that regard.

Sean Duffy, a professor of political science, agrees that Quinnipiac has a “strong tradition in service – CAP (Community Action Project), service learning opportunities, even the Albert Schweitzer Institutes activities – to say nothing of things the residence halls, the fraternities, and the athletic teams do to help out in the community,” and that the school should continue to build on that.

Quinnipiac University was also listed on two other lists in The Princeton Review’s “Best 361 Colleges” book: “Students dissatisfied with financial aid,” and “Homogeneous population.” Regarding these rankings, a sense of accuracy was found among the students. Many students feel that financial aid and diversity are two of the biggest issues today at Quinnipiac University.

“Both of these issues are very obvious at QU, and really make the school look bad,” said Dodge. “These issues should be addressed and are way more important than some of the things this school focuses on.”

Both McLean and Duffy agree that diversity is an issue at Quinnipiac University, but both feel the school is making significant strives in solving the problem. On the financial aid issue, Duffy believes if students are “dissatisfied with financial aid, (then they should) ask questions, organize and act to have the issue addressed.”


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