Home Campus The history of Ohio U’s “party school” reputation

The history of Ohio U’s “party school” reputation

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Photo by Ryan Harroff.

What does the “party school” reputation mean to Ohio University? To some, it’s a fun diversion; for the administration, it’s a headache.

Most often a university wants to be known for being ranked among the top schools –  sometimes it’s more important to stay off the list.

In 2018, Ohio University has not been on any major list as one of the top party schools in the country. This has not always been the case. Ohio University was listed in 2015 as the top “party school” in America by Playboy Magazine, much to the chagrin of the administration. The university has not even appeared on it since. However, that reputation has had a lasting impact.

The Halloween Weekend

The party, which Ohio University is most often known for, is the Halloween Block Party that occurs on a weekend close to Halloween every year. Some call it “Halloweekend,” or “HallOUween.”

During that weekend the city of Athens will more than double its population. University alumni, students from nearby colleges, and multiple police agencies from surrounding counties converge on the festivities. Crime rates are known to skyrocket during the party and every year dozens of students are arrested on charges ranging from underage alcohol consumption to public indecency.

The following charts an abbreviated history of Halloween at Ohio University.

The Party School List

In addition to falling off Playboy Magazine’s list of best “party schools,” the university has also failed to get a mention in The Princeton Review, another publication known for creating an authoritative list on the subject. Playboy began publishing an annual list in 2009, but it had occasionally republished the Princeton Review’s list as far back as 1987.

Ohio University and its students have mixed views of the institution’s reputation as a “party school.”

Some alumni take pride in their college being considered one of the most fun colleges in the country. Others worry their degree may have been devalued by the erstwhile ranking. Current students are similarly divided on the subject.

Changing the University’s Image by Changing the Culture

The university has taken steps to treat the underlying causes of its “party school” culture. Students are now required to complete online training on safe alcohol use and proper procedures regarding sexual consent. In an effort to crack down on parties, campus police are stricter in enforcing noise complaint policies and trash codes.

It may take some time for the university to fully escape its perception as a “party school.” In the meantime, students and faculty have worked to adjust to how that reputation impacts their time spent at Ohio University.

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