- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 6, 2007

Associated Press

Trinity University in the District and St. John’s College in Annapolis are among 12 schools nationwide pledging to boycott a key component of the U.S. News & World Report college rankings.

Presidents of the schools sent a letter dated Saturday to other schools pledging to stop filling out the part of the magazine’s survey in which colleges rate one another, which accounts for 25 percent of a college’s ranking. In the letter, the presidents, from mostly smaller institutions, said the popular rankings mislead prospective students and encourage gamesmanship, and they encouraged colleagues at other colleges also to not fill out that part of the survey.

The letter is the latest step in a growing movement led by Lloyd Thacker, a veteran of the admissions field who has started an organization dedicated to toning down the competition in the admissions process.

Many colleges say they dislike the rankings, and some already have refused to fill out that section of the survey. However, the letter represents what Mr. Thacker hopes will be the start of a widespread movement. He is lobbying other colleges to join. The topic will be on the agenda at a meeting of prominent liberal arts colleges next month.

“Other colleges are ready to join,” said Mr. Thacker, who said his group also will work with colleges to develop alternatives to the rankings. “I’m very encouraged.”

Robert Morse, research director for the magazine, did not respond to a message seeking comment. Magazine officials have said that, while some college officials already decline to rank one another in the survey, the response rate is more than enough to make the survey valid.

Much of the other information used in the rankings is publicly available.

Among the other 10 colleges to sign the letter were Wheelock College in Boston, Marlboro College in Vermont, St. John’s College in New Mexico, Heritage University in Washington, Southwestern University in Texas, Bethany College in West Virginia, Drew University in New Jersey and Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

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