Think before hitting send

Incident at Ohio University reminds college students of the dangers of social media

By on November 6, 2013

The university has dealt with four cases of cyber bullying this year alone, according to Chief of Public Safety David Barger. In Connecticut, cyber bullying amounts to harassment which can lead to serious consequences with the law such as fines, restraining orders and/or additions to one’s permanent record.

“Bullying is up close and personal,” Barger said. “The thing about cyber bullying, although it is still personal, it’s not up close. That is the greater danger.”

An anonymous Twitter account was created named @QUPartyStories, which posts embarrassing pictures of drunk Quinnipiac students partying.

Some students, such as freshman microbiology major William Bomentre believes this account serves no real purpose.

“It’s like a car crash, to be honest,” Bomentre said. “It’s a bad idea, because it can get people in serious trouble. But you can’t help but look at it.”

The account’s description reads: “Send us your craziest Quinnipiac party pictures. All pictures sent in at own consent.”

Barger said he believes cyber bullying and social media are a problem for all college campuses, not just Quinnipiac. He thinks this Twitter account does more damage to the students involved than it does to the institution.

“College students have to remember that every employer has access to social media,” Barger said. “It’s nothing for an employer to find out everything about you. It’s more injurious to the student that it is to anyone else.”

Bomentre believes that cyber bullying is a problem on campus that is genuinely overlooked due to Twitter accounts such as QUPartyStories.

“It’s mostly with Twitter accounts like QUPartyStories or even QUHookUps that stuff is personal and even embarrassing,” Bomentre said.

Cyber bullying affects all college campuses and, according to Barger, students need to be cognizant of what they post on the internet.

“The best thing is to use [social media] responsibly.” Barger said. “To take a photograph of someone draped across a bed throwing up. I don’t see what purpose it serves.”

A case of cyber bullying broke out at Ohio University after an incident on Oct. 12 circulated on Instagram and Twitter.

Students at Ohio University were shocked to see videos and photos posted online of a man performing oral sex on a woman in front of a Chase Bank in Athens, Ohio, according to Allan Smith, reporter for The Ohio University Post.

The man and woman involved in the incident are Ohio University students and remain unidentified.

Smith said college students need to be aware of what they post on social media and how it can affect their future.

Both the man and woman in the video were under the influence of alcohol and do not remember the events that took place that night, according to an article written by Smith for The Post.

The public began to speak up after the woman filed sexual assault charges on the man.

Rachel Cassidy, a sophomore and member of Alpha Omicron Pi at Ohio University, was misidentified as the female in the video and was the target of online harassment by a group called “Crimes Against Fathers,” who called her an “evil woman” for “falsely accusing rape,” according to Smith.

“The guys there are emotionally charged,” Smith said. “There was an article out there that said [the leader of CAF] didn’t care if [Cassidy] committed suicide.”

Cassidy spent days hiding in her sorority house due to online harassment before she could begin to attend classes again, according to Smith.

“This was a horrible attack on her identity.” Smith said. “It’s something she can’t have completely removed. She can have it cleared up but it will always be there.”

CAF has not removed the article harassing Cassidy from their website, and has no intention to do so in the near future, even though her name has been cleared by Athens Police, according to Smith.

“[CAF] did not have a care in the world about ruining this girls life, who ended up being completely innocent of the situation.” Smith said. “This girl gets attacked online about a post that [more than] 34,000 people see, and all of the sudden she’s locked in her home, she can’t go anywhere, she’s actually fearful of her life and she’s being wrongly accused.”

Smith believes the shock factor of this story is what made it become nationwide, and that college students should be aware of what they post online.

“People want to film things for the shock factor, to get re-tweets and to get likes,” Smith said. “If you post something on social media and it’s that outrageous, it will get around the world in a day…The lesson is, you have to think before you hit the send button.”

Barger believes there is both a positive and negative side to social media for college students.

“You have to look at the total picture,” Barger said. “This case in Ohio was something that should not have been on social media. A lot of students put a ton of credence into how they are perceived on social media.”

Barger said students need to use social media for the intention it was created for, which he said is communication with others.

“People can see it, and it’s there forever,” Bomentre said. “Don’t post anything you’ll regret in the future.”

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About Sarah Doiron

Editor-in-Chief
Email: editor@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @SarahDoiron31
Year: 2017
Major: Journalism