Ohio State was recently ranked fifth on a top 10 list many students, professors and alumni might not want to make at all: the likeliness that graduates will cheat on their spouses.
AshleyMadison.com, a website that assists adults in having affairs, created a ranking of the most common alma maters on the site. AshleyMadison polled more than 10,350 of its more than 3.5 million members, according to the website, and the University of Minnesota topped the list with several other large universities following.
AshleyMadison.com founder and CEO Noel Biderman said on the site he was not surprised that so many larger schools were on the list.
“It’s apparent from our survey that certain campuses offer a climate that’s more conducive to would-be adulterers, typically someone more adventurous and looking to have new experiences,” Biderman said.
AshleyMadison.com also discovered 12.2 percent of the users surveyed had obtained a degree from a junior or community college and 23.3 percent had a postgraduate degree (doctoral, master’s, or professional degrees).
Debra Moddelmog, an OSU English professor and coordinator of the sexuality studies program, said she saw some flaws in the study.
“The study is not scientifically based since there’s no mechanism to control for bias nor is their sample representative of the population about which they are making conclusions,” Moddelmog said.
In many controlled scientific studies, there is a control group used to ensure there is no bias influencing the study’s outcomes and those surveyed are typically chosen for their ability to well represent the population they comprise.
Diane Ruzicka, an OSU alumna who has been married for 36 years, said she found the ranking of OSU statistically insignificant.
“Given that OSU is also in the top 10 for enrollment year after year, it seems logical that it would make the top 10 of many lists. And at a ranking of 3.8 percent (of users surveyed), (it) seems a real stretch to call it a top ‘cheating university,’” Ruzicka said in an email.
The placement of OSU on the list sparked debate about the accuracy of the list and the AshleyMadison.com website in general. A few students became interested in the website and the results of the study.
Bobby Seitz, a second-year in industrial engineering and economics, said he does not think this is an accurate depiction of cheaters nationally.
“Personally, I think it is sad that someone found an interest in compiling data about which colleges supposedly cheat the most,” Seitz said.
Colin Anderson, a fourth-year in aerospace engineering, said he also finds the study flawed, with little purpose.
“I feel that the attempt to link any particular university to a higher infidelity rate seems silly,” Anderson said.
OSU has about half a million alumni. Other schools in the top 10 included the University of Michigan, the University of Iowa and the University of Southern California.