Gossip on campus gets juicy

Web sites like Juicy Campus allow students to post anonymously about one another.

Unlike Facebook and MySpace, Juicy Campus takes sharing personal information to a whole new level and sees privacy as an afterthought.

Last month, Temple was added to JuicyCampus.com, a gossip site that has pages for nearly 500 campuses nationwide.

Juicy Campus serves as an open forum for users to anonymously post uncensored gossip about their campuses, and anything or anyone is fair game. Posters do not need to register or log in to start a thread on the Web site.

Common discussion topics include fraternity parties, the sizes and shapes of sorority sisters and sexually transmitted diseases. Posts can then be tagged with key words or phrases like Greek, cheap food or drugs.

Juicy Campus now has a Temple page where students can leave anonymous messages (Paul Klein/TTN).

Sean Brondi, a junior risk management and insurance major, said he was disappointed by what he saw on Juicy Campus.

“It seems like a place for people to pathetically try and embarrass their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend,” Brondi said.

Since its creation, Temple’s page on Juicy Campus has received more than 250 different posts across a message board, with several posts gathering thousands of views each. The popular topic is about sororities and fraternities. Posts for this topic have 1,500 views.

Not everyone is stricken with Juicy Campus fever on campus.

Senior speech pathology major Amy Lee has no interest in the site.

“I refuse to look at Juicy Campus. I have enough drama in my life,” Lee said. “I don’t need to read about other people’s.”

Posts with useful information or with a sense of humor can be found few and far-between. A post titled “Speaking of Juicy Gossip” asks about the soon-to-be grocery store opening in Progress Plaza. Another post sheds light on students who are annoyed when they discover someone sitting in their seats in class, even though they always sit in that same seat.

Juicy Campus’ mastermind Matt Ivester is a 2005 graduate of Duke University and former president of his fraternity. He founded the site in August 2007.

The site is widely received among college students and the news media. CNN held an interview with a college freshman who was criticized on Juicy Campus in April. The interviewee said the rumors ruined her freshman year and affected her physical appearance because she lost weight and could not sleep.

Some posts on Juicy Campus make controversial accusations about date rape drugs, promiscuity and racism. Examples of posts’ titles are “Easiest Freshman,” “Fat People Working at Starbucks” and “Handicapped.” When authors choose to remain anonymous, it’s difficult to find who is to blame, but it’s not impossible.

Publicly lying and humiliating someone is not tolerated by Juicy Campus. Those harassed by allegations on the site can lawfully subpoena the site’s owners. They must prove that the posts are untrue and show how their reputations were damaged by libelous material.

The site features a text box that allows users to enter gossip without having to log in or verify an e-mail address.

A disclaimer is listed on the privacy and tracking page of the site. It informs users that Juicy Campus reserves the right to disclose personal identifiable information if necessary to protect its rights or comply with court proceedings.

Brondi encourages those who post to the site to be aware of the damage libel can cause.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say,” Brondi said, “don’t say anything at all.”

Michelle Provencher can be reached at michelle.provencher@temple.edu.

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