Friday Five: diversity in admissions, burning couches, party schools and more


As I do every Friday, I offer you five interesting articles, videos, documents or ideas that I came across this week. You can help write next week’s list by forwarding links to me on Twitter, @wpjenna, or via e-mail, johnsonj@washpost.com.

1) Mountaineers urged not to burn couches: Apparently celebratory couch-burning in Morgantown has gotten so out of hand (as documented here and here and here and here and here and here) that the West Virginia University Student Government Association had to produce a 31-second public service announcement that contains messages like: “Burning a couch isn’t cool.” and “Don’t be stupid. Be smart. Celebrate with class.”

2) The alleged death of college bars: The New York Times reported earlier this week that social media is killing the bar scene near Cornell University, as students spend more time pre-gaming at home, texting to find hangouts and monitoring Facebook to see who is where — and wearing what. (Full article: “Last Call for College Bars.”)

And that news came on the heels of Playboy naming the University of Virginia the top party school in the country, even though the prestigious, historic school has never been visited by I’m Shmacked, which has quickly become the unofficial official deemer of truly out-of-hand “party schools.”

3) Diversity and admissions: Next month the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in a case that revolves around an ever-sensitive topic in college admissions: racial diversity. The Washington Post’s Robert Barnes traveled to the University of Texas — the school named in the case — to take a look a deeper look at how the school assembles its incoming classes. The case raises a lot of questions about how admissions and the demographics of college-bound students have changed (along with the make-up of the court) since the landmark decision in 1978 that allowed race to be one factor in admission decisions. I found this passage especially interesting:


Kristin Thompson, former president of the Black Student Alliance at the University of Texas, participates in a class discussion. (Photo by Nuri Vallbona for The Washington Post) (Nuri Vallbona/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

4) Student editor self-publishes spiked story: After the president of Bryan College in Tennessee spiked a student newspaper article about a biblical studies professor who left the school after being arrested during an FBI child molestation sting, the student editor decided to publish the story himself and circulate it around campus. The president has since stated that killing the piece “might have been a mistake.”. (Romenesko: “Student editor publishes story on his own after it’s spiked by college president.”)

5) Quadruplets at Virginia Tech: I don’t know how you get four siblings to agree on anything, let alone where to attend college. But the Lomaka quads of Richmond all decided to be Hokies. The university just passed along this video of the foursome:

And a P.S. to last week’s Friday Five: One weekend, Washington is elated to hear about the surprise birth of a baby panda cub. The next, the cub has unexpectedly died. The Post’s Mike Ruane has been doing a masterful job of recording this heart-breaking drama, and recently quoted the zoo’s panda curator remember the cub as a “beautiful little baby. Absolutely beautiful. Perfectly formed. . . . Black spots were just starting to come out on its eyes. Just a beautiful little baby panda.”

You can add to this week’s reading list by leaving a comment below. And you can help write next week’s list by forwarding links to me on Twitter, @wpjenna, or via e-mail, johnsonj@washpost.com.

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.
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