The new UW-River Falls Confessions page has exactly 1,889 “likes.” In addition, even if UWRF students do not directly “like” the Facebook page, they are often exposed to the content when their Facebook friends “like,” share or comment on posts from the page.
This confessions page was created to replace the old confessions page that was shut down at the end of spring semester last year. This confessions page is heading down a familiar path. While the administrator of the page claims to be filtering the posts to prevent cyber bullying, it is obvious that these efforts are nothing short of pathetic.
On Tuesday morning of this past week, I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and came across a post from UWRF Confessions. The post read, “Tell the [racial slur] to quit there [expletive] about the rebal flags and deal with it yee yee.” This post was “liked” by 39 people. This is just one of many posts that can be classified as derogatory. I normally do not get involved in Facebook banter, but in this case, I was unable to resist due to my sheer rage.
First, we are all college students who should know the difference between there, their, and they’re, by this point in our schooling, as well as how to correctly spell “rebel.” Second, “yee” is not a word. If you will not take my word for it, please look it up in a dictionary.
Beyond these basic grammatical errors, I had a major issue with the racial slur that was used in the post. I am positive I am not the first person to realize that UWRF is not the most ethnically diverse campus on the face of the planet, and I am also positive I will not be the last. However, this lack of diversity cannot be used as an excuse for ignorance and disrespect.
When one pulls into River Falls on Cascade Avenue, the first sign he or she will see ironically states, “Visit our inclusive campus.” How can our campus claim to be inclusive when the administration and students allow a page like this to represent the entire campus and student body?
Although I am not a member of the targeted minority group, I was not unaffected by the post. In fact, I can empathize with the targeted group. This past summer, I worked in the heart of North Minneapolis and was exposed to more cultural groups than I can count on my fingers and toes combined. As a white female, I found myself, for the first time, in the minority. I know what it feels like to be on the outside looking in, constantly wondering if you are fitting in.
Nobody at UWRF should ever have to feel this way because every student here is unique and has positive qualities that enrich our campus. However, if we continue to pigeonhole one another based on the color of our skin, where we come from, or what our majors are, we will never have the “inclusive campus” we claim to have.
When I read that post, I was ashamed to be a student at UWRF. I am downright embarrassed to attend the same university with people who believe this kind of language is acceptable, and I am embarrassed when employers read my resume and see UWRF plastered across the top of the page. If I had not already transferred schools once in my college career, I would consider transferring again. I can now say I understand why the admissions office is constantly worried about retention rates.
I understand the administration is not directly responsible for the content posted on this confessions page, but for all extensive purposes, it is. We all are. The opinion of one is the opinion of all because each one of us makes up UWRF, and that is the name listed at the top of the Facebook page.
As a UWRF student, I not only request, but demand that the administration takes swift action to shut down the confessions page. It is not only damaging to students, but also to the reputation of our university as a whole.
Stillwater Area High School was able to successfully shut down two Twitter accounts that were similar to the UWRF Confessions page on Facebook. If a high school can take this action, I would certainly hope our University can too.
Morgan Stippel is a political science major and a professional writing minor. When she graduates from UW-River Falls, she wants to become a state prosecutor and specialize in domestic violence cases.