By Carrie Sheffield
Students at BYU can rest assured that their campus safety and security is among the best in the country.
And while BYU”s academics are good, the diversity needs work, according to a College Prowler, a Pittsburgh-based company that issues report cards for U.S. colleges and universities based on student input.
College Prowler publishes the grades, along with student testimonials, in the form of a guidebook available for $5.95 on the company”s Web site.
BYU got the nation”s best grade, an A+, in controlling the drug scene, and ranked high with an A- for its facilities and athletics. In parking, BYU got a C grade, and a D+ in campus strictness, tying for last place with George Washington University.
Luke Skurman, 22, founded College Prowler because he felt current rankings and guidebooks failed to give an inside look at college life from students instead of stale numbers and outsider”s observations.
“There are no adults involved in the process at all,” Skurman said. “We pride ourselves on how we allow students to speak for themselves.”
The company receives orders for guidebooks from college admission staff members, high school guidance counselors and publishers.
Skurman said College Prowler gathers input from students via voluntary e-mail surveys given out to 200-300 students, with a 10-15 percent response rate. Employees then call random students to ask them if their school is portrayed accurately.
Carri Jenkins, assistant to the president for University Communications, said she doubts the sample size is enough to paint an accurate portrait of BYU.
“I would say that is not a fair representation of BYU,” Jenkins said. “It sounds like this is just opinion, that they didn”t ask for any data here, any physical evidence. I would not call this a statistically significant survey.”
Skurman admits the guidebooks are not perfect, but said overall College Prowler is able to capture the feel of a campus.
“We definitely don”t know everything about BYU, but I think we do a pretty good job,” Skurman said.
He also said College Prowler is better than guidebook companies like the Princeton review which he said they bases its assessment on old data.
Some students say the grades are a true reflection of BYU, but they disagree with some of the individual rankings.
“They”re pretty accurate overall,” said Sky Young, 22, a sophomore from Gallup, N.M., majoring in business. “But I think the guys should have got a lower grade. There”s a lot of guys who are kind of stuck up.”
In the gender categories, girls at BYU received an A-grade while boys got a B-plus. Gender grading has sparked discussion among students.
“Guys are better than a B-plus, just because of how they act toward girls. They”re so genteel and respectful,” said Ashley Curnow, 19, a sophomore from Vancouver, Wash., with an open major. “But I think girls should probably have gotten lower than they got because of how they dress. The strictness of the honor code is not enforced.”
In campus nightlife, BYU ties for dead last with Dartmouth College and the California Institute for Technology. With its D-grade, BYU”s nightlife is something students say is suffering.
“During the day, you”re studying, you”re working hard and at night, you just want to unwind, and there”s just not that much to do,” said Steve Beisel, 21, a sophomore from Rockledge, Penn., with an open major. “Everything closes early, and I don”t like that.”
BYU”s nightlife grade is worse than the B-minus given to the University of Utah.
“People that go to this school, all they do is just study and go to class,” said Andie Noe, 19, a sophomore from Rocklin, Calif., majoring in family history. “There”s more to life than just studying and just an education. Prophets and General Authorities have said, ”You need to have fun, you need to go on dates.” I don”t think people are actually doing that enough.”