Univ. absent from homophobic list
Published: Monday, September 12, 2005
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
After five years of being ranked as homophobic by the Princeton Review, Boston College is off the "Alternative lifestyle not an alternative (low acceptance of gay community)" list. The rankings, which come from student surveys available at schools or online, were recently released in the Princeton Review's 361 Best Colleges: 2006 Edition.
"Being removed from the list is just demonstrating how life at BC really is for students," said Mike Yaksich, former president of LGBC and BC '05. "The student body wasn't homophobic in my time there, and it might have been in the past, but in recent years it never really deserved to be on that list."
Since 2000, BC has ranked second, second, fifth, 14th, and fifth respectively on the list.
"BC never felt that it belonged on that list to begin with," said Jack Dunn, University spokesman.
John Hellman, GLC president and A&S '07, agreed. "After the rally and the strike [last spring], we knew that the fact we were on the list was unwarranted," he said. "If you're a gay student on campus, it's not as bad as what the Princeton Review was saying before."
The lists are compiled from student surveys taken at schools at least once every three years, according to Robert Franek, the author. Because of the volume of schools surveyed, they do not update each school's data every year.
"We refresh at least a third of the schools with new data," said Franek. "That accounts for much of the fluctuation simply because of that amount of fresh data."
"We moved up and down not by our own changes but by the changes at other schools. We just fluctuated because we weren't sampled," said Yaksich.
Students can take the survey at anytime at http://survey.review.com and the data will be accumulated until BC's information is refreshed. Approximately 1,300 student surveys were used in this year's assessment of BC, which Franek called "a great response rate," in comparison with an average of 300 students at other schools.
Dunn disagreed with the accuracy and importance of the Princeton Review rankings.
"We and other institutions had long questioned the methodology of the Princeton Review," said Dunn. "U.S. News has a formula that is pretty clearly stated, whereas Princeton Review relies on random samplings from students who happen to respond to the e-mails. The methodology has always been suspect and is not based on any quantitative data."
Despite this disagreement, administrators and students alike are happy to be off the list.
"This is overall good for the school and good for students to realize that their actions have made an impact," said Yaksich. "Students at BC aren't being considered homophobes anymore, although I don't think you can ever label a student body as being homophobic."
"We are pleased this year to not be on that list," said Dunn.
"The fact that we were on the list just highlighted what we needed to do," said Hellman. "We didn't have anything before Allies two years ago. Putting us on the list was a calling to do something, and now we're in the process of doing everything we can to make gay students feel more comfortable."
The only list BC was on this year was 13th on "Students pack the stadiums (intercollegiate sports popular)," which is down from 10th last year. It also fell off the "Best college towns" list. The 62 lists are a mix of various attributes, such as "Best campus food," and "Reefer Madness."