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Editorial

Students should maintain respect, decency in online interactions

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April 29, 2016

In this day and age, online harassment and abuse has grown significantly in its prolificacy as is fairly apparent.

One recent example came out just a few days ago. “Just not Sports,” a sports podcast, released a video April 25 where men were brought in to read tweets to sports reporters Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro in person. The purpose behind the video was to show harassment that people can face online with no true reason, ending with the message “We wouldn’t say it to their faces. So let’s not type it.”

Such things happen to anyone, anywhere, including on our campus. Places like the mobile app Yik Yak and “confessions” pages on Facebook. There’s no real problem with anonymous people discussing other unnamed people, but a problem develops when people are named. One person wrote “Watched [name] take 4 dicks in less than 2 hours over the weekend…” Others developed rumors regarding one person running for Student Senate president on Yik Yak. This sort of occurrence is where things get dicey and are taken too far.

Writing things specifically with the purpose of embarrassing, hurting or ruining the image of other people behind the mask of online anonymity is a terrible thing to do; it says a lot about a person who does this for no other reason.

Online harassment is far more easily avoided than what people can face in person. A popular response to complaints of internet abuse is telling the recipient to turn off their computer or not to go on whatever website these messages are coming from. And that is true, absolutely, but that doesn’t change the fact that the person who should be changing what they are doing is the harasser.

As students together at university, it is hugely important to us and to prospective students to have a campus community which supports itself and whose members look out for one another. Online harassment, calling people out, spreading false statements about people to hurt them: these things all achieve nothing besides damaging our community. We encourage everyone to be respectful, friendly and considerate of others to make our campus as good as it can be.