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Drop in party school rankings is good news

AS classes for a new school year begin at West Virginia University today, it's important to commemorate that the state's flagship university has dropped from first to fourth in the rankings.

If the university continues to improve, it may eventually even drop out of the Top 20.

No, it's not football, basketball or riflery we're talking about here, but West Virginians can be proud to know that the Morgantown-based institution is no longer top of the list of party schools.

When the Princeton Review's list of party schools came out earlier this month, WVU had dropped from its top (or bottom) ranking of 2012. WVU had also made No. 1 in 1997 and 2007.

To be fair, WVU does rank among the best in several positive rankings, such as the numbers of students who earn prestigious scholarships likes the Rhodes, Truman, Goldwater, and Fulbright.

But the party school ranking draws attention. As much as some students - and many non-students or recent dropouts - like the idea of WVU being considered a party school, a high ranking on that list is not good news for the state of West Virginia and the $208 million in state dollars sent to Morgantown every year.

News coverage of burning couches and rude behavior at sporting events tarnish not just the university, but the name of the state.

Proud and reasonable West Virginians have never been able to understand why a small percentage thinks it is fun to yell derogatory comments at opposing fans or join crowds that start fires and damage property.

But after years of hoping bad behavior goes away, the university in the last few years has finally begun taking positive steps to rein in the embarrassment.

President James Clements, Athletic Director Oliver Luck, student government, student affairs and local governments are working together to address bad fan behavior, using social pressure and a code of conduct to encourage fans to act responsibility.

That's the right approach. West Virginians look forward to the day when the school doesn't show up on rankings for party schools, but is ranked more often among the nation's best in academics.

And West Virginians would like to see the Mountaineers end the year highly ranked in athletics, too. 


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