MONTREAL (CUP) — Playboy magazine, the self-described “authority on the good life,” was on McGill University’s campus this week to recruit female students willing to bare it all in the name of school spirit.
Earlier this week, Playboy representatives set up a photo studio in a hotel suite just blocks away from campus, where they snapped photos of McGill students who hoped to represent the University in Playboy’s “Girls of the Top Ten Party Schools” pictorial feature, to be published in May.
McGill was the only Canadian school named on the list, which has become infamous south of the border since it was first published in 1987.
The initial response to Playboy’s call for McGill women was modest; on Monday morning, representatives had booked only two 20-minute photo sessions, and had yet to return phone calls from around 30 other prospective playmates, who had likely read about the casting call on the front page of Friday’s issue of The Montreal Gazette.
The two representatives-a photographer and an administrative assistant-were planning to widen the pool of candidates by recruiting more students at popular Montreal nightspots. The selected girls, said the photographer, will have their magazine photos taken in local student hangouts such as bookstores or laundromats.
One student, who asked not to be identified, said the photographer took five to ten shots of her topless, and from different angles, in the hotel room.
“It was very informal, and less embarrassing and invasive than I expected…. They were very professional,” she said. “You could tell that it’s what they do every day.”
The student said that she was not very surprised at McGill’s place on the party school list, given its location.
“I would say that Montreal is a party city, but not that McGill is a party school,” she said, citing Montreal’s expansive nightlife, liberal atmosphere and low drinking age as reasons that might make McGill a candidate for the list.
Other students, however, were surprised about McGill’s newfound party school reputation, suggesting that other Canadian universities, such as the University of Western Ontario or Bishop’s University, would be more deserving of the title.
The Playboy feature comes just as McGill is recovering from a blow to its reputation. Three weeks ago, the University garnered widespread media attention when a rookie football player publicly accused some of his teammates of sexually assaulting him with a broomstick during his team initiation.
“It is rather unfortunate given the timing,” said History professor John Varty. “But I think, as far as rankings go, this is a dubious one.”
Playboy spokesperson Theresa Hennessey said the list should be taken as a fun magazine feature, and does not necessarily reflect a school’s academic merits.
She explained that the unscientific list is based on factors such as the ratio of women to men, proximity to off-campus entertainment, the school’s party scene and the liveliness of campus life. This “data” was gathered by Playboy’s “campus ambassadors” and other sources.
Also named on the list are the University of Wisconsin, Florida State University and the University of California at Santa Barbara.