Yik Yak and Renaming of Saunders Hall

UNC is in flux.

The oldest public school in America has never faced adversity like it is now and moving in a positive direction (read: FORWARD) will be the toughest challenge Chancellor Folt will face in her academic career.

There has been the worst case of academic fraud since … well, ever, a federal complaint filed against the school due its mishandling of students’ sexual assault complaints and now a challenge from passionate students who want to see their ancestry respected and voices heard.

The Saunders Hall debate is not new this year, but the veracity of the protests and the increase in popularity on Yik Yak has made this particular round of protests more extreme than movements of years past.

The anonymity that accompanies Yik Yak and internet message boards has made hate speech so prominent that one college president even banned it on his campus. When you scroll through the location-based social media app following a Saunders Hall rally, the amount of insensitive and racially-charged comments is overwhelming.

The veil of anonymity is the draw of the app; the ability to say whatever whenever is something that will always draw a certain crowd of people. Personally, I believe the idea of the app is fundamentally flawed because despite its promised anonymity, one’s post on the app can be tracked if, for example, you make a bomb threat on a campus with 20,000 people on it.

But this is not the point of this post. The point I am trying to convey is that I am honestly embarrassed to be a Tar Heel when I read the amount of insensitive and absurd racial commentary on Yik Yak everyday. Serious conversations are trying to be had on this campus about race, and this mindless app that was intended to be used for a good laugh is interfering with these talks.

Because of this, I think Chancellor Folt should follow the lead of the Norwich University president. Ban Yik Yak and promote an environment where people are held accountable for what they say. It is not my place to say whether Saunders should be renamed or not; it is my place however to hold people accountable for what they say, and by hiding behind a keyboard, students posting the hate speech are interferrng with this job. And I won’t support that.

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3 thoughts on “Yik Yak and Renaming of Saunders Hall

  1. Jasmine Neely says:

    Hi Bradley. I appreciate this post, and as a female student of color, I feel that all the issues the university has been dealing with has something to do with me. I would like to focus on the race issue and I also would like to let you know I do not have a Yik Yak, but I have friends who have it and I have heard about the racist comments regarding specifically the black community. There was one comment that I saw that said something like “I do not feel sorry for black people, how could you like those animals anyway?” and another that asked “do you think blacks are equal to the white race?” and a number of people said no. It is so hurting to know that I attend a school with these people (some who I may know) who may not like me just because of the color of my skin. Even though people do not show it as much as they did in the past, racism is alive and well and communication about race on this campus is not being talked about because the people who “anonymously” say these things online will not talk to black people in real life about their real issues with them. They don’t seek to understand another point of view and show their closed-minds on this site. I could go on and on about my frustration about this issue, these sites show people’s true colors as a campus community and is a reminder that we still have a long, long way to go.

    Like

    • bradleysaacks says:

      Hey Jasmine!

      Thanks for reading. I agree with what you’re saying. To me, the right of free speech is abused when people use it to anonymously spew hate speech. While Yik Yak and other anonymous platforms have their benefits, I think the freedom it gives to though who just want to create hate and anger is too great.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Communications in the midst of community tragedy | amberlyounger

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