Facebook page publishes student confessions, controversy ensues

Although the highly popular ‘UW-Platteville Confessions’ Facebook page is not directly affiliated with the university, nearly 2,000 students, faculty and alumni have liked or subscribed to the feed.

Facebook users who subscribe to the page, are encouraged by “Batman,” the page’s unknown creator, to anonymously submit confessions to a link provided in the ‘About’ section. Not all submitted confessions are subsequently posted; however, some of the stories that have been posted have sparked controversy, specifically ones containing content referring to illegal actions or behavior and posts using people’s names.

Sarah P. Miller, Director of Social Community of University Information and Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, addressed the importance of the page’s cover photo.

“I liked the page so I see all of the updates,” Miller said. “I contacted the source and asked that there be a disclaimer posted and was pleased to see that the creator made it the cover photo.”

Rumors have been swirling that the page is now under investigation and at risk of being taken down. However, UW-Platteville administration has not taken that action as of now. Other universities have had administration interfere.

Loras College had a similar page and removed it within a 24-hour time period due to an overwhelming number of student complaints. Loras administration sought out the help of Facebook directly to have the page removed.

The UW-Platteville Student Senate posted on their official Facebook page on Feb. 26 around 7 p.m. regarding their position on the confessions page. It stated if the postings continued they would take full action with university administration and Facebook to have the page taken down.

The post also said they did not mean to infringe upon the students’ first amendment rights but to protect the rights of others who could be potentially victimized.

The post was removed from the Senate’s page shortly after it was posted and no one on Senate was available to comment by publication time.

Miller stated that if anyone has contacted the administrator of the confessions page saying they are the chancellor, it is not true.

“There has not been any discussion at this point about having the page permanently removed,” said Paul Erickson, UW-Platteville’s Director of Public Information Officer. “Humor is to be found everywhere and a lot of the confessions are funny.”

Erickson further explained that UW-Platteville has creative students on campus, but when mean-spirited comments are made, the site may not give off the best impression.

We do monitor the page somewhat, but we are not looking to be a Big Brother, both Erickson and Miller said.

University confessions pages are created for students to share and read posts for entertainment, but it is advised that students take precautionary measures when sharing.

“There is no such thing as full online anonymity,” said Miller. “I wouldn’t post something that could potentially get me in trouble.”

Adding to the notion of available online information, Erickson spoke about how personal images are reflected in the content that individuals chose to post.

“People need to understand that the internet does not keep secrets,” said Erickson. “I just hope that people do treat each other with respect.”