Dorm Gossip Turns Slimy on the Internet

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By Marc Fisher
Sunday, March 2, 2008

T.J. Bateman had never heard of JuicyCampus.com until a friend told him he had been discussed on the Web site, which urges college students nationwide to "give us the juice." Someone wrote, anonymously, that Bateman, a senior at the University of Virginia, is a "pretty cool dude, but I hear he is part robot."

Could be worse, Bateman figures. "I thought it was pretty funny, but then I saw a post on the same page with a couple of racial epithets, and that rubbed me the wrong way. The anonymity lends itself to much more vindictive attacks."

Such as one that names another U-Va. student and says she "will sleep with any guy." This sort of post has given JuicyCampus -- which features message boards for 50 colleges, including the recent additions of U-Va. and the Naval Academy in this area -- instant notoriety and the sadly resulting success.

The subject of that posting, a junior at the Charlottesville campus, didn't know that a thousand people had read the slur against her until I told her about it.

"Initially, I wasn't too concerned about it, although I did get angrier the more I thought about it," she says. "Everyone I know feels that the Web site merely serves as an outlet for petty and immature people who have nothing better to do with their time."

Not wishing to be associated with sexual sleaziness for the rest of her life, she contacted JuicyCampus asking that her name be removed.

Nothing doing. JuicyCampus guarantees anonymity to those who slime others, but disavows any obligation to those who are maligned on its pages.

From the site's FAQ:

" Is the site really anonymous?"

"There is no way for someone using the site to find out who you are. And we at JuicyCampus . . . prefer not to know who you are."

" How do I remove a comment I posted?"

"You can't. Once it's out there, it's out there."


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