I came to Temple University for one reason, to build a better life for my family and me. Being on this campus I have met some of the greatest people I could ever hope to meet and have created friendships that will last a lifetime, all while receiving a world-class education. When I first started, if asked whether anything could break this unity, culture of diversity and acceptance, I would have quickly answered no. That is no longer the case.
There is something threatening not only this culture, but also the very security of this campus. It is with much sadness that I bring to your attention a Web site so disgusting, hurtful and divisive that I almost gagged when some friends showed it to me. I have never visited this Web site again, but the messages it carries still reach me on a daily basis. The Web site is juicycampus.com, a place where people come to spew hate and gossip and disrupt our campus. This Web site has group set aside for almost every major college in the country and every campus locally including our own. One this site people can, without registering or being tracked, write any gossip happening on that particular campus. The things posted here are not trivial things like who is dating who, but outrageous lies and racially charged and hateful statements about members of the Temple community. Most of the things are so revolting that I will not repeat them, but some of the things on the Web site talk about “nigger lovers” and suggest things, from people’s levels of sexual promiscuity to outright saying that some entire fraternities are infected with HIV.
This Web site is reaching an all-time level of exposure. I believe it is our responsibility to do everything we can to have this Web site shut down. But as a first step I insist that it be blocked from all servers that are connected to Temple University. We cannot turn a blind eye to what may become (if we don’t stop it) one of the biggest social issues of this campus. With the ability of people to go on this Web site untracked and unnoticed, we have not way of tracking them. But the Supreme Court ruled in the following case, Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc.,418 U.S. 323 (1974) that Gertz’s rights had been violated when vile things were written about him in a magazine, but it has been used in cases concerning online chat rooms. It held that unlike the ruling in NY Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), which protects an individual’s right to say anything about a public figure, true or not, as long as they said it without malice, that individuals should have a higher level of protection against libel. The Christian Broadcasting Network has also touched upon this crucial topic, writing an article about the problems it evokes. Other campuses nationwide shared this same opinion and were able to ban the Web site from their networks.
It is our civic duty to protect the students of this campus as well as the reputation of and peace at Temple University. I am currently receiving signatures for a petition expressing my sentiments. This Web site must be shut down and the spirit of acceptance and tolerance which Temple was founded on must stand! We must stop this Web site, before chaos is unleashed on this campus! And as the President of the Residence Hall Association, I speak for thousands of students living on this campus when I say it must stop today!