Students meet to discuss national college gossip Web site

JuicyCampus, a Web site that allows visitors to anonymously post university-related gossip, has ignited controversy for scandalous posts and some raunchy discussions.

The site, which recently expanded to include 50 universities including the University of Miami, was the topic of discussion Tuesday night when student leaders met in the UC lower lounge to discuss concerns.

Although administrators are upset by the site’s information, the university cannot prohibit access to JuicyCampus because students, and anyone else online, can go to it while using computers not on the university’s network.

“The university is not going to block access to it,” said Dean of Students Ricardo Hall. “That’s just a band-aid. Even if we block it from our own servers, you could go over to the Starbucks and post. You don’t even have to go to UM to post about it.”

Student Government Vice President Molly Jones, who organized Tuesday’s meeting, said that the Web site, which was launched last fall at seven universities, is mostly perpetuated by students in Greek letter organizations.

“People that you guys care about are being slandered,” Jones said.

Out of the roughly 40 students in attendance – primarily representatives from Greek organizations – most had mixed thoughts about how to handle the non-verbal rumor mill.

“If you tell people not to go, they will; you will hook them,” said Lorenz Zaragoza, a junior and the president of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. “That’s the forbidden fruit right there.”

Other students think that the Web site reflects negatively on the university.

“We’re worried about PR with deferred recruitment,” said Kimberly Barron, a junior and the Panhellenic president. “Anyone on the Internet can see it. It’s beyond Miami.”

The Web site’s discussion board is not indexed by search engines such as Google, but some students are still very worried.

“I’m concerned it’s going to escalate to the point where people get subpoenas,” Jones said.

Other students think the best thing to do is avoid making the issue bigger than it needs to be, and wait for the hype to die down – something that has already happened at other universities.

“It’s freedom of speech,” Matt McElroy, a junior, said. “I feel like the best thing we can do is downplay it.”

– Karyn Meshbane and Greg Linch

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