Last week the Cal State Northridge Daily Sundial ran an article on student drinking habits that claimed that American first-year students “spend more time drinking than studying.” Their source for this claim was a deeply flawed report produced by a company that markets anti-alcohol programs to college campuses.

As we reported last month, the study in question was little more than a marketing handout for Outside the Classroom, a for-profit company that produces anti-drinking programming for use by student affairs administrators.

The study received quite a lot of attention on its release, in large part because it was presented at the annual meeting of NASPA, a professional association for professionals in the student affairs field. What received much less attention was the fact that Outside the Classroom is a major corporate sponsor of NASPA, and paid for time at the group’s annual meeting.

And the problems with the study don’t end with its sponsorship. Its methodology is questionable and its most often repeated conclusions are not supported by the evidence it offers.

In short, the Outside the Classroom “study” is shoddy, anti-student research from a company with a financial interest in portraying students as problem drinkers. Disseminating it doesn’t bring us any closer to actually understanding student drinking habits, healthy or unhealthy.