MSU worse off without party school reputation
MSU is well known for its storied partying tradition. As a member of a family filled with Spartan alumni, I have been regaled with my relatives’ fuzzy, yet fond memories of their time at MSU (the ’80s sure sound like fun). For years, perhaps due in part to my wild family, MSU consistently was ranked as one of the nation’s top “party schools.”
But a series of riots in the late ’90s and early 2000s that gained national recognition, however, cast a negative light on the university and drove school officials to work to clean up MSU’s rowdy image. Freshmen move-in, for example, was delayed to eliminate Welcome Week and limit excessive party opportunities.
Perhaps to the delight of administrators, MSU again remained outside Princeton Review’s top 20 party schools for 2013.
In an effort to clamp down on riots, MSU has gone too far and deterred a healthy partying atmosphere.
One would assume that a benefit of the university’s reformed image would bring about an improved academic reputation; however, this has not been the case.
According to U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings, MSU remains tied with the University of Iowa at No. 73 nationally. Iowa, interestingly enough, also was ranked as the country’s No. 1 party school.
While MSU might have cleaned up its image as a party school, we still are haunted by the memories of the numerous student riots that have taken place in East Lansing, most notably the 2008 Cedar Fest mayhem — which caused thousands of dollars worth of damage and resulted in 52 arrests.
These events have hurt our image as an enjoyable place to attend school. Riots are not parties. The University of Wisconsin, for instance, was not ranked as a “party school” because of broken glass, tear gas and flipped police cars. In general, today’s notable party schools earned their recognition because of their lively social scenes that ultimately enhance a college experience, when enjoyed responsibly.
MSU administrators should be less concerned about ridding the university of its partying history given its negligible impact on the school’s overall reputation.
Instead, students and school officials should focus on cultivating a balanced image for the university. Reasonable partying paired with more studying on the students’ part would bode well for everyone.
MSU must signal to the rest of the country that this is a place where students can receive a world class education while having a bit of fun as well.
Alex Dardas is an international relations junior.