BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Aug. 19) - Indiana University was crowned the nation's No. 1 ``party school'' Monday in an annual Princeton Review survey that school leaders and medical experts derided as irresponsible and unscientific.
Following IU in the rankings were Clemson University, the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Florida.
IU officials questioned the No. 1 ranking. The school, which didn't appear on the list last year, has toughened its stance on student drinking since the 1998 alcohol-related death of a student.
In the past year, five IU fraternities have been suspended or expelled for violations of alcohol policies, said Bill Stephan, the university's vice president for public affairs.
``I think there are some serious questions about the methodology of the study and it really calls into question the credibility of the ranking,'' Stephan said.
IU freshman Anya Simonova said her school may be perceived as a party school, but noted that ``it's getting quieter because they're cracking down more.'' Junior Erin Pritchard agreed.
``I'd be surprised to hear we're number one,'' she said. ``Even though most people party three or four times a week, this past year they've been a lot more strict.''
The survey, conducted since 1992, ranks schools in 63 categories based on in-person or computer interviews with 100,000 students. The party school designation is based on student reports on alcohol and marijuana use, the amount of time spent studying outside of class and the popularity of fraternities and sororities on campus.
Princeton Review, a test-preparation and college admissions company with no connection to Princeton University, defended its survey.
``We simply are reporting on the conditions that exist on those particular campuses, and if social life continues to be an aspect that students comment on, then I will continue to include that list in the book,'' said Robert Franek, the company's editorial director.
Franek noted that the survey also lists the top-20 ``Stone-Cold Sober Schools,'' where students say there is little drinking. Brigham Young University topped that list for the third straight year.
The American Medical Association has repeatedly criticized the ``party school'' rankings, saying they irresponsibly legitimize high-risk drinking and portray alcohol as central to college life.
On Monday, Richard Yoast of the AMA's Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse called the survey ``a marketing gimmick'' and said it does a disservice to quality universities.
Following Florida, the rest of the top 10 party schools were the State University of New York-Buffalo; the University of New Hampshire; the University of Colorado-Boulder; Florida State University; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.