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The Mass Media

New UMass Boston Confessions Page Draws Controversy on Facebook

While+I+applaud+students+who+seek+ways+to+reach+out+and+build+communication+throughout+the+UMass+Boston+student+body+in+meaningful+or+fun+ways%2C+this+has+to+the+most+disgraceful+and+disgusting+behavior+by+most+posters+and+all+admins.+A+page+that+states+%23abuses+%2F+sexual+remarks+%2F+objectionable+content+will+be+posted.+hope+that+is+well+received+shows+a+complete+disregard+for+the+experiences+of+women+and+people+of+color+in+the+UMass+Boston+community%2C+and+in+our+society+at+large.+This+page+is+nothing+but+a+defamation+to+the+our+Universitys+name%2C+and+myself+and+others+will+seek+to+remove+the+name+and+logo+of+UMass+Boston+from+this+unproductive+and+reprehensible+page+immediately.+The+students+who+have+made+these+racist+and+sexist+remarks%2C+as+well+as+the+students+who+run+this+page%2C+should+be+ashamed+of+themselves.+You+have+done+nothing+but+allow+racial+and+sex-based+attacks+to+proliferate%2C+create+tension+among+a+wonderfully+diverse+campus%2C+and+tarnish+the+name+of+our+University.+Congratulations+for+your+contribution+to+the+world.%26%23160%3BSincerely%2C%26%23160%3Byour+Student+Trustee%0A

While I applaud students who seek ways to reach out and build communication throughout the UMass Boston student body in meaningful or fun ways, this has to the most disgraceful and disgusting behavior by most posters and all admins. A page that states “#abuses / sexual remarks / objectionable content will be posted. hope that is well received” shows a complete disregard for the experiences of women and people of color in the UMass Boston community, and in our society at large. This page is nothing but a defamation to the our University’s name, and myself and others will seek to remove the name and logo of UMass Boston from this unproductive and reprehensible page immediately. The students who have made these racist and sexist remarks, as well as the students who run this page, should be ashamed of themselves. You have done nothing but allow racial and sex-based attacks to proliferate, create tension among a wonderfully diverse campus, and tarnish the name of our University. Congratulations for your contribution to the world. 

Sincerely, 

your Student Trustee

 

 

 

On March 26 and 27, a Facebook page dedicated to anonymous statements from UMass Boston students filled with anti-Asian commentary and threats of violence. 

The controversy began when the page, “UMass Boston Confessions,” posted the quote “A lot of n***as be attending our school.” The page administrator added his or her own opinion in the form of a hashtag, “#truedat.”

Offended by the original post, a person claiming to be a black student at UMass Boston retaliated. “Are you kidding me? A lot of c***ks be attending UMB. With that pork-fried rice on hand. I still can’t understand why c***ks like to study for fun. By the way I do not mean to offend any of the 10,000 c***ks in the school. Its Tooth-Hurty I gotta go!”

Before the first racist comment, the page had mostly been liked, commented on, and shared by Asian UMass Boston students. The anti-Asian poster, working off of the assumption that the person who wrote about “n***as” was Asian, specifically complained that the page is an environment “WHERE ITS OKAY to make fun of black people…BUT ITS NOT OKAY to point out the massive population of Asians.”

Asian students posted comments to the anti-Asian confessor under their own names. A student named Joey Lau wrote “Must be easy to say within the safe comfort of anonymity. Real courageous of you, lmao.” Lau’s comment received 17 likes.

Eventually, the conversation turned to threats when the anti-Asian poster responded to Lau. “Do not indirectly try to intimidate me homeboy. I’ll let you wet your pants: I’m 6’2” 235lbs black and a wrestling beast. If you still think it was an ignorant comment come see me.” The poster added “Long live the Constitution.”

According to a 1942 decision made by the Supreme Court of the United States, the First Amendment to the Constitution does protect some forms of hate speech, but not “‘fighting’ words,” which are defined as threats likely to lead to violence. 

At about 1:30 a.m. on March 27, the page administrator wrote, “I’m gonna post more objectionable content and racist remarks simply because they came in as anonymous confessions. If you have a problem with that, send me your own god damn confession.”

At about 2 a.m., an Asian student responded with, “Just because you got a wrestling background doesn’t mean I can’t just pop one in you with just my trigger finger. Yes, long live the constitution. My right to bare arms will clearly make you tremble if I saw you in the street.” 

The anti-Asian poster did not respond until nearly 11 a.m. He or she insisted that he or she “did not threaten anyone.”

Meanwhile, UMass Boston administration had heard about what was happening on the page. In an email sent around 9 a.m., Dean of Students Mark Jannoni wrote, “We take this extremely seriously, and we are currently going through our process to resolve this matter immediately.”

Unless the administrator of the page and the students making controversial statements confess, Jannoni might not be able to locate any of those responsible for the racist posts, the hashtag endorsing the original anti-black post, or the threats.

On the one hand, it is impossible for Facebook users to determine who is administrating the page. On the other hand, Facebook explains on their help website that the corporation is happy to “work with the law enforcement community to promote safety, on and offline.”

The confessions themselves are made via a link to a form on a Google Docs file. It is possible that the page administrator does not know the identity of any individuals who submit confessions.

Google does not have a publicly posted statement of support for law enforcement or other authorities. According to a 2006 article in The New York Times, the company has fought subpoenas in the past, including one from the United States Justice Department. 

After Jannoni sent his email, the page continued to fill with content that some students might find objectionable. The statement, “Sometimes I feel like Ben from Freedom Writers” was followed by “I am an international student, I want blow job.” 

Other posts on the morning of March 27 include ”The dean of math and science touched me Inappropriately” and ”All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe.”

Not only has the administrator published objectionable content, he or she has contributed to the controversy with the hashtags added to every confession.

At 11 a.m., a poster sent in one sentence, “I love diversity at our school.” The page administrator added, “#and thats how you get to bang chicks from all races.” The administrator also tagged a statement about reporting the anti-Asian poster to UMass Boston administration with “#You sure you wanna drag school officials in this mess you p***y?”

Students at the Black Student Center and the Asian Student Center did not know who any of the anonymous posters or the page administrator were, and expressed shock at the words on UMass Boston Confessions.