BakerFession belittles BU’s reputation

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BakerFession belittles BU’s reputation

Story by the Baker Orange Editorial Board

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One of Baker University’s most followed Twitter accounts, @BakerFession, has not only found popularity on the Baldwin City campus, but also among alumni, potential students and even community members.

The account allows students to submit so-called confessions through an anonymous question and answer platform. When users open the BakerFession Twitter page, they are greeted by photos of scantily clad women, messages from students seeking a “no-strings-attached” relationship and others describing their sexual preferences.

Since the account’s first tweet on Feb. 18, BakerFession has more than 600 posts and 400 followers, which surpasses the number of followers for Baker University’s official Twitter page. While this account may seem harmless, it could have a negative impact on the reputation of the university and confidence of its students.

One of the university’s strategic goals is to improve freshman and full-time enrollment. The Baker admissions, public relations and marketing offices work diligently to ensure the university is always portrayed in a positive light. Sites like BakerFession undermine that overall goal.

A number of high school students follow the account, with one tweeting, “I don’t even go to Baker yet and someone mentioned me on here…. Should I be worried lol.” Really, should this anonymous Tweeter be concerned? That depends on his or her set of morals and values. Baker University and its students, on the other hand, should be bothered.

Although BakerFession’s profile states that it is not affiliated with BU, the account used Baker’s official logo as part of its avatar when the page first launched. It was only after one staff member informed the account that using the logo was a serious copyright infringement that BakerFession changed its profile picture.

Not only does the account have potential to attach negative connotations with the university, but it is also degrading to both males and females. Hundreds of the tweets call out specific students, commenting on their physical appearance or personal information. This form of objectification is belittling to an institution that prides itself on providing a community bond and lifelong connections.

University President Pat Long even acknowledged the recent harassment on social media in a student-wide email Monday. Long did not directly refer to BakerFession in the email, but her message applies. She wrote, “In this age of being able to write anything and everything on social media sites, I am trusting that as Baker students you will continue to be a model of considerate individuals. Words can hurt, and in some cases be construed as sexual harassment, bullying or abusive behavior.”

While BakerFession is an issue for the Baldwin City campus, the idea of anonymously describing destructive decisions for entertainment is a national concern.

BakerFession is modeled after the popular Twitter account @CollegeFession, which has more than 875,000 followers with nearly 16,000 tweets. CollegeFession allows higher education students from across the country to air their dirty laundry with the name of their university as the only identifier.

Many of the tweets on this account are sexually explicit and make light of the alarming statistics of sexually transmitted diseases on college campuses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports nearly 50 percent of sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed to people between the ages of 15-24.

BakerFession tweets like, “I’ve had sex with 3 different girls in the study room of the libraries on the 2nd floor. Don’t blacklight that floor,” or “I need the V like a car needs gasoline” only have the potential to empower this epidemic.

As the university works to develop “confident, competent, contributors to society,” social media accounts that combat this overarching goal should not receive support from the campus community.