Juicy Campus fuels rumors, hurt feelings

By Jill Lowthian

For gossip lovers on campus, Juicycampus.com may become their new home page. However, for others, the Web site may bring feelings of embarrassment and anger.

The Juicy Campus Web site allows college students to anonymously post their thoughts about anything on multiple blogs. The Web site recently added the University to its database of 58 colleges nationwide.

Matt Ivester is the founder of the Web site, which launched in October 2007. He said the Web site was meant for entertainment and light-hearted gossip.

“I think on college campuses across the country, there are hilarious, entertaining and fun stories being made every day,” Ivester said, “And Juicy Campus is a great place to collect those stories.”

Despite this goal, a number of posts on the Web site may not seem like light-hearted entertainment. Some of the posts made to the Web site recently include “scoring cocaine on campus,” “rankings of sororities,” a list of students with STDs and many other posts that include students’ names.

Justin Randall, Illinois Student Senate president and senior in LAS, said he heard about the Web site last week.

“A few people came to me a little bit concerned about the potential ramifications of an anonymous online burn book,” Randall said.

Because of the amount of negative posts made by students, Randall said the Web site will cause more harm than good.

“I think it has the potential to do a lot of harm within personal relationships with people,” Randall said. “It kind of creates this whole controversial he-said-she-said nature between people.”

Despite his view of the Web site, Randall said there are no actions he can take to stop the postings.

“Frankly there’s nothing as an institution that we can do because we can’t track down who said the things,” Randall said.

Randall said he plans to research the University Student Code in hopes of finding a way that the Student Senate can regulate the use of the Web site.

Randall said University administration has also recently learned of the Web site, but does not know if they will take action.

The University’s Greek community has become the subject and possibly the authors of many of the Web site’s comments.

Panhellenic Council, which oversees more than 20 sororities on campus, recently sent an e-mail to sorority members encouraging them to not use the Web site, said Brooke Hurst, Panhellenic vice president of public relations and junior in LAS.

“We were encouraging people not to support it,” Hurst said. “People are always going to have gossip, but a lot of stuff is stereotyped rumors and just not true.”

The Interfraternity Council oversees more than 40 fraternities on campus, most of which are the fraternities mentioned on the Web site. Peter Logli, president of the Interfraternity Council, said the council has chosen to not take any action against the Web site.

“It’s an issue that’s beyond our control as a council, and we feel like any attention we give to it would be undeserved,” Logli said.

Ivester said he did foresee potential problems with the Web site.

“Like any site on the Internet, you can’t control your users,” Ivester said.

Despite the issues that have surfaced, Ivester said he thinks the reactions to the Web site have been mostly positive, and he plans to add more colleges to the Web site in the future.

“We’re expanding as quickly as we can,” Ivester said.