An activist group is trying to push the Princeton Review to include information on sexual assault in its rankings, but members of the UF community disagree.
The activist group, UltraViolet, is asking the Princeton Review to survey students about how their schools are dealing with sexual violence on campus, according to the group’s website.
“The Princeton Review is simply not equipped to take on the task accurately,” said Rita Lawrence, an interpersonal violence prevention coordinator for GatorWell Health Promotion Services. “The way that they do surveys, they send it out, and the responses they get on average is 333. Is it reliable to say that 333 people are representative of a campus of 50,000?”
The fear is that students may also use these rankings to avoid schools with poor rankings in the hopes of avoiding sexual violence, rather than informing themselves about the pervasive nature of sexual violence, Lawrence said.
Consistency is another concern, said Associate Dean of Students Chris Loschiavo.
His concerns stem from questions about how the Princeton Review would make sure the surveys would fairly compare a variety of factors among universities, such as campus size and resources.
“Unless they come up with a fair system of being able to figure out how to track and then evaluate the rankings, I don’t know that it’s going to make a lot of sense,” Loschiavo said. “You’re not comparing apples to apples.”
While the consensus is the Princeton Review may not be the proper avenue for these requests to have the desired impact, Diamond Delancy, a 19-year-old UF public relations junior and president of the Women’s Student Association, believes that the real benefit of this request is the increased dialogue about ending sexual violence.
“It may seem radical, but it’s been a long time coming,” said Delancy, who herself was a victim of sexual assault.
“I think they’re doing what they think is best, and they’re trying to find an answer for a question that’s been ignored for a really long time,” she said.
[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 6/11/2014 under the headline "Sexual assault ranks don’t make the list"]