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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    What’s Your Name? Oh, You’re On Juicy Campus.

    Candice Herschkorn was flabbergasted when a student she had never met before greeted her that way. Herschkorn, a junior at Rider University in New Jersey, was now affiliated with Juicy Campus, the anonymous site where students can create forums and postings about their peers.

    “My heart sank,” Herschkorn said in an interview. “The forum called out every single person I hooked up with, and said I had slept with four guys in one week.”

    The lies posted about Herschkorn under Rider University’s forum on Juicy Campus made her fearful and suspicious of the world outside of her dorm. Unable to go to parties, Herschkorn refused to go to the university’s only dining hall for two days. “I was worried about what people were saying about me because I just didn’t want it to ruin my career,” Herschkorn said. “I emailed Juicy Campus asking them to take down the post but they didn’t.”

    The response Herschkorn recieved from Juicy Campus took firm standing by the anonymity of its posters. “We take our user’s right to free speech very seriously,” said Juicy Campus Team. Juicy Campus declined to remove posts “at this time” and further encouraged users. “to reply to the post with additional information or differing opinion.”

    JuicyCampus.com was founded by Matt Ivester, a Duke University alum, on Aug. 1, 2007 under the premise of offering a forum of free discussion. What started out as an open web community quickly developed into a site that hosted smear campaigns, threats, and anonymous rumors.

    Students on college campuses all over the countries have protesting Juicy Campus and attempted to remove their schools from the online forum.

    Allison Stedman of Stony Brook University met repeatedly with Dean Jerrold L. Stein in hopes of removing Juicy Campus from the university’s servers. She is the active leader of the Stony Brook chapter of the Sigma Delta Tau (SDT) sorority.

    With 90 different chapters across the country, SDT was a source for “constant slamming” on Juicy Campus. “I understand students need to have their voices heard but this is a horrible way of doing it,” said Stedman in an interview.

    The Stony Brook University administration tried to help take down the site, but the Communications Decency Act of 1996 protects online forums like Juicy Campus. The act states, “no provider of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher of any information provided by another provider.” In other words, a site that hosts any kind of information cannot be blocked or legally persecuted.

    While Stony Brook administration failed in banning the website from the university server, some college campuses succeeded. Emily George, a member of the student government association at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut claimed that though the website was taken off their server, the college was still on the Juicy Campus forum.

    “Our school has had multiple problems with hate crimes in the past and Quinnipiac has always expressed that we hold a “zero tolerance” policy,” George said in an interview. “So, I thought it was contradictory that someone along the way in our school’s hierarchy gave the okay to be part of a website that allows sexist, racist and even threatening remarks to be posted on a public forum.”

    After a lifetime entrenched in lawsuits, subpoenas and violent threats, Juicy Campus shut down on Feb. 5, 2009. The site shut down because “a business can’t survive and grow without a steady stream of revenue to support it,” according to a statement by Ivester on the Official Juicy Campus Blog. Net users who try to get to Juicy Campus are instantly rerouted to collegeacb.com, the replacement website that stands for College Anonymous Campus Board. College ACB was founded by Andrew Mann of Johns Hopkins University and Aaron Larner of Wesleyan University.

    What makes College ACB different from its predecessor? The site brags about an “innovative user-moderation button, which allows for easy yet unobtrusive regulation. Any post that might be threatening, libelous, or otherwise illegal, is immediately brought to the webmaster’s attention.”

    A press release by the site founders claims that ACB “is a website that helps build community and engenders the open exchange of information.” The site is devoted to “promoting actual discussion, not provoking salacious posts or personal attacks,” according to a statement released by Peter Frank, ACB’s current operator. Net users like George are happy to see Juicy Campus go, citing the danger of college web forums. “We have seen cases where young teens have taken drastic measures such as committing suicide due to harassing messages on forums such a MySpace, and I’m glad to see someone stopped Juicy Campus before it could reach the same level.”

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