Campus bullied by itself

By
March 19, 2013

A Facebook page called “Mills College Confessions” has sparked an uproar on campus in the past week, with students becoming increasingly disgruntled over the nature of the page’s posts.

Facebook page where students can post anonymously has revealed what some students feel is unacceptable sentiments and behavior (Facebook)

Facebook page where students can post anonymously has revealed what some students feel is unacceptable sentiments and behavior (Facebook)

College confessions pages are springing up around the country on Facebook. San Francisco State’s confessions page was recently taken down to avoid legal action with the university, an article in SFGate said. The Mills College Confessions page was created anonymously two months ago.

“Personally, I’m disgusted by the Mills College Confessions page because I feel that a lot of things on there, people should keep to themselves,” first year Joyelle Baker said. “People are calling people out about cheating, there were a lot of gross things going on, and a lot of things that could put people’s jobs and livelihoods on the line.”

Vala Burnett, Mills admissions counselor and head of the college’s social media taskforce, said that she is aware of the page, but has not seen it nor does she have intentions to change how it is run.

“It’s a student-run page, so it’s not something that I’m going to try to influence or change in any way,” Burnett said. “One of the biggest things that makes social media so powerful for prospective students is the knowledge that a lot of the content is coming directly from current students.”

The page’s description advertises it as a place where students can anonymously submit their secrets, which will be posted to the public with a number next to each post to keep track of how many confessions there have been on the page. The content of the confessions varies, but the most popular topic is clear: sex.

“It’s not that I think that we should just push it under the rug and not talk about sex, but the way people are talking about it on this page is very vulgar and can be very offensive,” Baker said.

The number of confessions that concern sex have risen considerably since the page was started. Posters openly identified other students they would like to have sex with, broadcasted trysts they claim to have had in different spots on campus, and in one case, claimed to have had sex with a professor. While many students appear to be amused by the sexual confessions, some have confessed on the page that they believe the posts are a form of sexual harassment. The sexual comments have also caused a considerable amount of discomfort among students.

“Our school name is attached to that site, and most of the confessions are immature, bordering on sexual harassment and bashing specific individuals,” senior Kira Lewis said. “It seems to actually be a venue against the many things we are attempting to deconstruct at Mills.”

Several posts explicitly identify students, ranging from complaints about post-baccalaureates to sexual advances towards graduate students. One graduate student, Joshua Marshall, said he was flattered by the posts that were directed towards him, but is concerned about students who may be receiving unwanted attention.

“Personally speaking, I have no objection; to the contrary, I’m flattered,” Marshall said. “Consequently, I am concerned about anyone who’s name is featured on the

page who takes objection to it all – it’s not clear to me what manner of recourse they might have available to them.”

Graduate student Kelsey Thorne was the subject of several sexually explicit confessions on the page, and declined to comment.

In addition to posts about sex and sexuality, some confessions detail the places where students have defecated or urinated around campus.

“I really don’t want to know who takes a crap on campus,” first-year Maya Nesmith said. “That’s nasty, you shouldn’t do that anyway.”

Another hot-button issue addressed on the Mills College Confessions page is the level of racism students feel from other students on campus. Many of the posts regarding racism have an angry tone, with students arguing with one another through anonymous posts.

“#138. Dear 128, I take it you’ve never been a woman of color on Mills campus… because all of those things happen 5 times a week, while many white students at Mills might not realize they are being ignorant,” one anonymous confession said.

Despite the arguments taking place on the page about race, Nesmith feels that although the page will inevitably get out of hand, the discussions being fueled on the page are important, and are not happening elsewhere on campus.

“I knew that there were always issues here on campus when it came to how people identified with race, but I didn’t know it was this bad,” Nesmith said. “Even though it’s really uncensored, the kind of dialogue that’s occurring on that page is what I feel we should be having in the classroom, but we’re not.”

Some students are conflicted about the page, and believe that there are positives and negatives to it being online and anonymous.

“I think it’s an incredibly interesting forum for students to air their grievances or brag about things they would never tell their friends,” fourth-year Ariana Cuellar said. “That being said, I think a certain type of person will use it more than others, which could lead to combative posts, hurt feelings, and more online aggression, which just adds to infighting.”

Other posts include students confessing their struggles with eating disorders and the amount that the campus atmosphere has to do with it.

“#23. Living in the dorms around so many body-negative people has intensely brought my eating disorder back. Thanks, Mills!”

The advertised anonymity on the page is not a comfort to some students, who say that the school is so small that it is not hard to figure out who is posting what.

“I think that because this is a small school and people are aware of that fact, there are some anonymous confessions on there where I’m pretty sure I know who it is,” Nesmith said. “I’m not saying all women because there are some great people here, but I think it just reflects the level of maturity of the women here.”

Attempts to contact the administrators of the page have not been returned. The Mills College Confessions page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MillsCollegeConfessions.


Read The Campanil‘s Staff Editorial on the ramifications of the Mills College Confessions Facebook page and also one Mills student’s Letter to the Editor about why the page paints the College in a negative light.


Campus bullied by itself was published on March 19, 2013 in Headline Story, News

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