Juicycampus.com, a salacious, anonymous online gossip forum for over 500 colleges, has come to Mills.
The website, created by Matt Ivester in 2007, lists colleges like Duke, Columbia and Yale and, in babyish tones of blue and pink, allows completely anonymous postings on topics like “Hottest Slut” or “Favorite Dive Bar.” Mills topics include “Sexy Freshfolk” and “Hall Monster.”
Juicy Campus has no filter for curse words or names and no postings are edited prior to making their semi-permanent home in cyberspace. This has created a national tidal wave of litigation against the third parties posting on the site, and has even created ripples at Mills.
Toni Blackwell, assistant dean of Student Services, says approximately 10 students have come to her to complain about libelous or otherwise hurtful postings on Juicy Campus. Students have come expecting consequences for the postings and their creators, but Blackwell has been unable to do more than ask Juicy Campus to take down the postings.
“The difficulty with Juicy Campus is it’s being posted anonymously,”
Blackwell said. “We’re trying to deal with it.”
There are no consequences from Juicy Campus for those who write libelous statements. While Ivester and his parent company Lime Blue INC are protected by the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which prevents websites from being sued over content posted by third party users, anonymous posters could potentially be revealed through a court order to find their IP addresses. Several suits, including a suit from a Mills student, are expected in the next months.
Internet libel is also against the Mills Cyber Bullying policy, but Monique Young, assistant director of Residential Life, stresses that, “It’s really hard to find out who these individuals are. I don’t know if the campus as a whole has the resources to find out who is doing what on their servers.”
Mills issues with Juicy Campus seem miniscule when compared to other universities’ listings, such as the one for University of California at Berkeley. While Mills has approximately 40 posts, UC Berkeley has around 320. The people writing on Juicy Campus are few compared to the entire student populations of these colleges.
Some campuses, like Columbia and Yale, have discussed banning Juicy Campus from their servers. But Ivester, who graduated from Duke in 2005 and was president of his fraternity, recommends his website on the basis of free speech.
“It’s an entertainment website,” he said. “We never meant to be on a soapbox for free speech, but I’ve become a passionate free speech advocate. I find the idea of censorship to be just completely abhorrent.”
Ivester added incredulously, “This doesn’t make sense. You could go to the sickest porn site or the most hateful hate site and not Juicy Campus.”
Many Mills women are wary of the site, like sophomore Kiya Komaiko, who said, “The only reason I know about it is because some friends showed it to me. It’s really bad, and people just make stuff up.”
Ivester says that Juicy Campus is blocked from search engines like Google, so if a libelous comment is made it’s not searchable. He encourages students to check Juicy Campus and, if something untrue is being said, to “change the conversation.”
Monique Young, however, would like Mills women to consider stopping the conversation all together.
“I hope folks wouldn’t participate in that.” She sighed. “It doesn’t do the College any good, and I would strongly tell people to avoid it and ignore it.”