I first heard about an app called Yik Yak via the Spawn, who uses it occasionally to eavesdrop on social media around Mondoville. The app is basically a short-range, anonymous social media platform. Think of it as a sort of grafitti wall.
Of course, as is the case with grafitti walls, one often finds grafitti that are offensive to obscene. Not far from Mondoville, folks in and around Clemson University have found this to be the case, with comments that The State (Columbia’s daily paper) describes as “racially insensitive.”
This shouldn’t surprise anyone — remember what I said about grafitti earlier? Of course, colleges being what they are these days, it’s also unsurprising that some aggrieved students have requested that Clemson block the app from its network. Other schools (including Norwich U and Utica College) have already done this, and the student government at Emory has denounced the app as a platform for hate speech. The students have also asked the school’s president to apologize for these comments that (one presumes) he didn’t actually make.
On the one hand, these are basically meaningless gestures — even if the campus network blocks it, users will still be able to access the app on their phones, and I’m dubious about the value of apologizing for stuff you didn’t do. However, the part of the article that caught my attention was what I hope was merely a poorly constructed sentence:
The students — a loosely formed group called A Coalition of Concerned Students — asked for a public commitment by the Clemson administration to prosecute criminal or predatory behavior and defamatory speech committed by those in the Clemson community, including comments facilitated by social media. [Emphasis mine — Prof. M]
As I said, I hope that’s just a sloppy sentence, but one must wonder these days.