After futile attempts to remove collaborative gossip website CollegeACB from the Emory Unplugged network, the Intersorority Council (ISC) has asked sorority members to take a pledge not to visit the website and is taking further steps to try to ban the site.
“Everyone’s upset about the activity on CollegeACB,” ISC President and College junior Kris Cole said of the site that allows students to discuss students, student groups, and other University-related topics anonymously.
Posts asking visitors to the site to name the “hottest girls” in each pledge class and comparing members of Greek life at Emory to characters in Nickelodeon cartoons were featured on the site’s Emory University page yesterday. A query asking users for information about students’ genitalia, posted shortly before 5 a.m. on Dec. 23 of last year, had 31 replies as of 11 p.m. yesterday evening.
Cole said that last semester she approached Dean of Students for Campus Life Bridget Guernsey Riordan about restricting access to CollegeACB through the Emory Unplugged network, which provides Internet access for all of campus.
Riordan said that while she does not approve of what the website has become, its negativity alone is not a reason to ban the site from Emory’s network.
“Although I hate a lot of the information they have on the website and the gossipy form it takes, if we censor this, what else should we censor?” Riordan asked. “If it doesn’t happen in CollegeACB, then what else will take its place? Once you start censoring, it becomes a constant cycle of what else comes next.”
Cole said that the next step is to involve the entire Emory community in taking a stand against CollegeACB. ISC is currently working on a school-wide petition to get the website removed from the network, which she said she plans on taking to University President James Wagner.
“We’re focusing on the entire undergraduate community,” she said. “The petition will not be just Greek-oriented.”
Students can expect to see and sign the online petition within the next two weeks, Cole said. Until then, she said that she is currently reaching out to leaders from “every facet of the Emory community” such as the Interfraternity Council, Student Government Association, College Council, Hillel, WMRE, Media Council and more.
In the future, Cole said that she hopes to disengage Emory completely from CollegeACB.
“It’s a longer process to get Emory removed from the CollegeACB site,” Cole explained. “That’s the final step, but it’s the hardest part of it.”
In response to a rise in activity on the gossip website during the Greek recruitment period, which Cole said is always a “hot period” for students to access and contribute to the website, ISC produced an optional pledge last week for sororities to take. According to Cole, each sorority has agreed to have is members take the pledge, in which sorority women agree to “discontinue accessing, posting, and contributing to the college gossip website CollegeACB.com” and to “work together to promote a cohesive Greek community based on friendship and loyalty.”
Though the site is meant to be an open forum for discussion, she said, it has turned into an outlet for anonymous negativity.
According to Cole, it has been said that Emory has one of the highest activity rates out of all the colleges listed on CollegeACB, which she calls “embarrassing.”
The most effective way to lessen the impact of CollegeACB on the Emory community, Riordan said, is for individuals to make the personal move to ignore the site and the material that is posted on it.
“The best way for people to censor it is not to go on the site and not to give any credibility to it,” she said. “If students don’t go on it, there’s not an audience for it.”
This is not the first time sorority women have taken such a pledge, Cole said, noting that there was a similar sorority-wide pledge concerning Juicy Campus, a similar website, two years ago.
— Contact Alice Chen.