The Mills Confession page started off as harmless but then people started to abuse and exploit it. It became a place to air your dirty laundry and grievances about Mills. Some people bragged about past sexual conquests or future fantasies or even about bodily functions. That was not the point of this page, at least not how I envisioned it. If people have to or want to post about hooking up or looking for partners, there should be a separate page for that.
One of the biggest issues I have with the Confessions page is the idea of people hiding behind the anonymity of it all. As teenagers, we frequently think, “Oh, I’m invincible, nothing will happen to me, it won’t be me, I won’t get caught.” And that’s not true. Yes, we’re young, and we make mistakes, but we can’t expect to be let off the hook for every single thing we do. We have to take responsibility, and I think that being anonymous in cyberspace really takes away the consequences we would usually face. Almost everything nowadays is accessible on the Internet. Even with privacy settings and everything, nothing is ever truly private.
Also, professors could get in serious trouble at Mills if what the students are posting is true. Even if the students are of legal age, the activity is questionable. We have to ask ourselves if the professors are using their best judgment, or if the students are convincing them of quid pro quo, or in layman’s terms, “a lay for an A.”
Although it’s unfortunate, the Confessions page is getting to the point where someone with authority needs to step in. If nothing is done, it will come to a point where the page will need to be shut down all together. I don’t think we’re at that point, but I do think there needs to be selectivity and censorship or regulation of what’s being posted.
Also, this page looks bad to the outside world. It paints Mills in a negative light. Our name is attached to that page. It’s our reputation on the line. Just like any other thing we post on the Internet, we have to be aware of who can see this. This doesn’t just affect the current students. It affects the teachers, the staff, the alumni, and anyone who has been affiliated with the school. It’s hard to build Mills back up as a credible, authoritative source after it’s been mocked and made out to be a joke.
I thought that this Confessions page would be a good thing. I wanted it to be a “safe space.” This school is so small already that it’s too easy to figure out who said what, or more accurately, who DID what. And that’s exactly the opposite of what this page should be for. It should be for people to be free enough to share with a community that is supportive of them and non-judgmental. It could be a place where someone could come out for the first time. I mean, that scenario might never happen, but this page, bottom line, should give people courage to say what they need to say (“need” being the operative word here).
Overall, this page has gotten way out of hand and something needs to be done. Students need to find appropriate ways of expressing themselves without damaging the school’s identity. Although some students don’t care if their reputation is damaged (especially if they are the ones saying controversial ideas), unfortunately this affects more than just them and they have to realize that. I am disappointed in what the Confessions page has become, and I know some of the other students feel the same way. I hope this does not become a bigger issue where serious action needs to take place.
Brooke Parker, first-year
Read The Campanil‘s headline story on the student reactions to the Mills College Confessions Facebook page and also the Staff Editorial on its ramifications.