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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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“And they have this book, this burn book…” College ACB: An Online Burn Book

A page from the Stony Brook Burn Book. Wolfie Seawolf has denied these claims. The book was found in the girl's bathroom on the first floor of the library. Sources tell The Statesman that Baxter the Bearcat, Binghampton's mascot, may be responsible for the book.

“Ugliest sorority girls?” “Who’s the best drug dealer?” “Who’s better? Stony Brook Cheerleaders? Or Stony Brook Dance Team?” “BEST FRAT PARTIES!”

Just to name a few.

College ACB is spreading through the Stony Brook community like wildfire. It is a website where anybody can post anything about anyone. The craziest part? They can do all this anonymously.

The posts are entirely unfiltered. Anyone with a grudge, a rivalry, a vendetta, a curiosity, a desire to start drama, an interest, a concern,or a thirst for commotion can start a thread of their choice on this Anonymous Confession Board.

According to the press release offered by owner and operator Peter Frank, the website “…is quickly becoming the central hub of college campuses around the country, giving students the freedom to voice their opinions and ask questions about any facet of college life.”

Even in its mission statement, the website “seeks to give students a place to vent, rant and talk to college peers in an environment free from social constraints and about subjects that might otherwise be taboo.”

Unlike its predecessor, the infamous Juicy Campus, College ACB wants to “host(s) a higher level of discourse—while still making room for the occasional gossip post.”

In fact, Frank continues to write that their philosophy is entirely unlike that of Juicy Campus, which they believe was “a website that fostered superficial interactions, often derogatory and needlessly crude,” before it was shut down due to endless university administration complaints and a sour economy.

But browsing the website on any given day, you’re bound to stumble on a post about whether or not this girl has a sexually transmitted disease, that guy is good in bed,  or Greek organization XYZ really makes their pledges get naked and then circles their imperfections.

Or maybe  you’ll even come across an entire thread about yourself. That’s exactly what happened to 20-year-old journalism major Nicole Siciliano. She logged on the website one evening to find a cynical post with her name on it.

“It’s upsetting,” Siciliano, who is also a contributing writer for The Statesman, said. “In a weird kind of way it’s like, “Oh, people know me.” But they know me for all this stuff that’s not even true. So really, they don’t know me at all. You wonder if they’d actually say all this to your face.”

Julian Pessier, the associate director of the University Counseling Center, agrees that the factor of anonymity that the site provides is an unhealthy way to deal with conflict resolution.

“Anonymity allows you not to take responsibility for your aggression,” Pessier said. “ It crosses into hurtful really quickly. There should be a healthier way to communicate.”

The University Counseling Center sees more than 1,500 students a year. Pessier explains that cyber bullying has become very prominent in college campuses across the country.

“Students have gossiped about each other for a long time. I think the question is how widespread the pain is,” Pessier said. “The problem with it being online, and anonymous, is that there are no limits on the imagination with what people can say.”

Siciliano said that after the post about her, she’s learned to take the website with “a grain of salt.”

“You learn to read it, but not really believe it much,” she said.

More than with her own negative thread, she is bothered by the amount of people that take inquiring threads with no hateful flavor and spin them into something bitter. Even posts about the nicest girls on campus, Wolfie Seawolf, or the best football player at the university are always twisted into endless hate rants.

“I think it’s really awful that people turn even friendly posts into something nasty,” Siciliano said.

Whether it’s controversial, provoking, or simply just fun, College ACB is acting as a virtual Burn Book on Stony Brook campus. But unlike in “Mean Girls,” Tina Fey will most probably not help this campus resolve its personal issues against one another. So, for now, students who feel targeted are directed to make an appointment at the counseling center.

“We are here for growth and for anyone who is having anything but an enjoyable college experience,” Pessier said. He advises that students speak to him if they feel any form of cyber bullying taking place.

Or perhaps just stick to Stony Brook Texts From Last Night.

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