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Skidmore Students Weigh In On "Reefer Madness" Ranking

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The Princeton Review, an online magazine that assesses and ranks colleges, has scored Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs as the number one college for marijuana use in the country. The college questions the organization’s research. But what do the students think?

The Princeton Review, a publication not affiliated with Princeton University, has published its updated lists of College Rankings. The online magazine rates schools on affordability, academics, quality of food, but also on other aspects of student life.

Skidmore College, for the second year in a row, gained the top spot in the “Reefer Madness” category. Colleges often disavow negative notices in the Princeton Review, like the “party school” moniker.

On a sunny afternoon during the first week of classes, new and returning students weighed in on the rating.

Sophomore Samantha Reisman said online rankings did not heavily influence her choice of school, but she does see reactions from parents.

“I’m a tour guide so I know that we have parents asking us about it a lot, and it does concern some parents, for sure,” said Reisman.

Sophomore Kate Brodt said the Reefer Madness ranking doesn’t reflect the whole campus community.
“There are different kinds of people on every college campus, and there are going to be those kinds of people on every campus, so the fact that they’re here at all isn’t surprising,  but there are also different people around here,” said Brodt.

Ben Marks, a freshman, said his high school college counselors helped him consider a number of factors before deciding on Skidmore.

“They have the great academics, but there’s still the school spirit. Beautiful campus, great resources,” listed Marks.

Freshman Tabitha Krondorfer said she did check out the Princeton Review’s rankings, but chose Skidmore after visiting the campus herself.

“It did kind of make me nervous with how liberal Skidmore was made out to be, but I didn’t take it too much into consideration, I  just seemed to really like the college,” said Krondorfer.

Junior Sarah Coburn said she understands the ranking when considering students’ openness about marijuana use.

“I can see it but I don’t think it’s that accurate because I think most schools have a ‘Reefer Madness’ culture,” said Coburn.

Junior Russeell Bollag-Miller was somewhat surprised with the ranking.

“People definitely smoke marijuana at this school but I think less-so than schools like University of Vermont or CU Boulder where you have people walking around with Bob Marley shirts, and there’s kind of a weed culture,” said Bollag-Miller.

Skidmore also ranked #No. 1 in the category Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians.

The school responded to the rankings in a written statement, saying “there’s nothing scientific about the way the Princeton Review conducts its surveys.” It also said the school takes alcohol and drug abuse seriously.

The school said it requires new students to take an online alcohol and drug education class before arrival.

Syracuse University was ranked the top Party School, which has also gone to the University at Albany in the past.In an open letter, Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud wrote that the ranking should be seen as a “wake-up call” and that the school must pay attention to “ the aspects of student life—and parties—that get in the way of students succeeding. High-risk use of alcohol and other drugs (not unrelated to a party culture) ranks number one on that list.”

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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