Jessica Ensley discusses the fact that administration hasn't done much to address the problems associated with anonymous social media apps
Ohio University needs to take a better stance in supporting its students and faculty with regards to racism, sexism and bullying.
Students and professors on this campus are being targeted on social media apps like Yik Yak and Unseen. The university did not publicly support Student Senate President Megan Marzec when she was receiving rape and death threats. They did not publicly support the students who marched against rape culture or racism and they did not support the students who traveled to Ferguson to participate in the marches there to end police brutality.
Specific individuals on this campus have their names and faces posted on Yik Yak and Unseen. Students choose to target Marzec, residential assistants, professors and other students and bully them on a platform that anyone can access. Most of them are females, not surprisingly. Yet the administration has released no public statement about these apps or tried to get across the message that racist, sexist and homophobic comments anonymously are still racist, sexist and homophobic.
President Roderick McDavis wrote in an email issued to the entire university “We do not support an environment in which students — and even some faculty and staff — feel uncomfortable expressing their ideas and viewpoints.” Yet the university is supporting an environment like that by ignoring what is happening. Some comments from these apps include “keep calm and keep raping” and “maybe rape wouldn’t be such an issue if you sluts would have a little f--king modesty on Halloween” on Unseen, and “The best way to end racism is to just stop talking about it” and “Black people are racist” on Yik Yak. A professor on campus is being targeted as well. “Fuck you (name retracted). Your class is retarded and you are a c--t.” Several more posts have shown up targeting them with even worse language.
“As members of a University family, we will not always agree, but we should respect one another,” McDavis wrote in the same email. But in actuality, it seems we do not respect one another. Women walking around campus often have their pictures taken unknowingly with posts saying “amazing tits.”
OU has taken some good steps though, such as hanging up consent posters inside dorms. But when I was walking around inside a dorm, I noticed only one version of the poster was available when there were originally several different ones I saw posted on F--kRapeCulture’s Facebook page. The ones showing a chart of what consent meant had disappeared for some reason.
The university needs to do more — banning the Yik Yak and Unseen apps on the campus WiFi would be a good start. They are a breeding ground for misogyny, racism and bullying, and if the university truly wants to help foster a community that views each other as a “family,” then they’d be doing more.
Jessica Ensley is a senior studying journalism. Email her at email@example.com