The Collegian
Friday, September 18, 2020

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Greek leaders resolve to stop gossip website

Members of the Interfraternity Council met last week to discuss the repercussions brought about by the gossip website CollegeACB.com.

They agreed upon and drafted a resolution to pledge that no member of Greek life would condone such a community of gossip and hate.

The College Anonymous Confession Board website is a place where college students can anonymously post anything and everything. The public can then read, vote on and respond to those posts.

The site contains specific university pages in which students can choose to post on either their own school's page or another school's page.

Students may discuss issues and spread gossip currently affecting students, professors and other members of the community on the page.

On its Frequently Asked Questions tab, representatives of the site said there were precautions taken to ensure that no post was derogatory or defamatory.

"This board is not meant to be a place where you can bash or tease someone behind their back," it said.

JuicyCampus.com, another anonymous gossip site, became popular on Richmond's campus in fall 2008. Students were outraged by its repercussions and the site was shut down in February 2009.

Now, in light of recent comments on College ACB that mimic those on Juicy Campus, student leaders on campus have opted to respond to the hurtful posts.

The IFC leaders and fraternity presidents composed the resolution in response to the recent complaints about the website brought about by the student body.

According to the resolution, "The members of all Interfraternity Council associated fraternities agreed to not post any material to such websites and forums, and instead to promote an attitude of respect and civility toward other persons and organizations."

Thomas King, Richmond College junior and president of IFC, said the website promoted a culture of disrespect on the Richmond campus.

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"I know that at the height of Juicy Campus people were leaving school because of the lies that were spread about them," King said. "I hope that we can stop that same tragedy from happening all over again."

A letter published in The Collegian in November 2008 written by Greek leaders and student government presidents called for an end to the gossip spread on Juicy Campus and for a more unified Richmond student body.

The letter said in part:

"The University of Richmond student is held to a high standard of integrity and trust and because of this standard we each must act in ways that respect our neighbor, our classmate, our professor and ourselves. We have an opportunity to reject the negativity this site has put on our campus community and move forward."

King said the College ACB resolution was not a proposal to ban the site from campus servers, but rather to agree to halt posting and reading the gossip.

"We feel that it is in the best interest of our chapters to stop using the website and we hope that the rest of the university community will agree," he said. "If there is a strong consensus that our opinion is correct we will move towards banning it from school servers."

To King, that agreement holds stronger than actually banning the site.

"In an ideal world, every campus group would voluntarily join us and vow never to use the site again," he said. "In my eyes, a voluntary pledge is better than any ban ever could be."

Members of the Greek and Richmond communities said they were upset about the site and its negative impact on campus.

Westhampton senior Elizabeth Scanlon said she was disgusted after reading the posts.

"I think College ACB is appalling, and those who view it are just as despicable as the people who write on it," she said. "Didn't your parents ever tell you that if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it all? 'Don't say it at all' is not code for 'write it anonymously on a public domain for the world to see.'"

Students expressed their concern and dismay on the website, too.

One anonymous post read: "It's the ultimate website for throwing rocks and hiding your hands, something a lot of students at UR are good at. From making threats to insulting really nice girls, this sh*t is shameful."

Andy Bloom, Richmond College junior and president of Kappa Alpha Order, said removing the site would benefit the Richmond community.

"We could become a tighter-knit community if we can get this banned somewhere down the road," he said. "We could shore up some divides moving forward, especially in the Greek community, which will only help future classes of students and Greeks down the road."

Contact staff writer Julia Pepe at julia.pepe@richmond.edu

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